CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Clarksville man was left paralyzed after a road rage shooting, and now, doctors have told him he might never get feeling back in his waist. A teenager is already in custody, but Clarksville police are still looking for the shooter.
For the first time, Julio Mesa is sharing his story, from the comforts of his Clarksville home, as he works to recover a little bit each day.
“As I was driving, these two couple[s] get next to me, and they’re telling me to roll my window down. They’re screaming at me, telling me to roll down my window very hostile and they aimed a gun at me,” described Mesa.
Mesa explained it was a typical day. He was on his way to pick up a few things when he says two people pulled up next to him with a gun. At first, Mesa described trying to quickly drive away, even crossing multiple lanes and driving down several streets to get away. Just when he thought he had lost the couple, he said they came out of nowhere.
“I see them coming from a different street and they are blocking the passageway for me, getting out to a different street. So, I’m leaning really close to the steering wheel and that’s when a shot went off,” described Mesa.
Clarksville police say the shooting happened on Nov. 7, as the result of a road rage incident that began on Fort Campbell Boulevard around 12:30 p.m. The initial report revealed the victim was shot near the intersection of Tobacco Road and Wild Fern Lane.
“I completely went into shock. I looked down at my legs to see why they were not moving. I immediately notice that my legs are not moving,” Mesa said. “I heard the gunshot. It was really loud. My back was against the seat. I was looking up, everything just seemed really bright.”
Mesa told News 2, he believed the shooter thought he was dead and drove away. That’s when he gathered his strength to find help.
“With my right hand I was pressing the gas, and with my left hand, I was steering the car, with the shot in my back bleeding. Not being able to breathe because a shot went through both my lungs,” said Mesa. “I was driving the car and I ran it into somebody’s porch just to get somebody’s attention. That was the first thing that came to my mind, I needed help now. I need help right now.”
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Police responded to a nearby home after Mesa said he crashed his car into it. He remembered thinking someone had to check on him after the crash. That’s when he says the homeowner came out and helped make sure he was okay.
“All I could do was put my hands up like I was praying and I was telling him, I’m shot. I was pointing down, I was mouthing the words ‘I’m shot,'” Mesa said. “He really helped me. He walked me through everything. To this day, I want to go back to the house and thank that man.”
On Thursday, Clarksville police announced the arrest of 19-year-old Alexis Watkins. Police told News 2, she was identified as the driver in the case. She was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Her bond has been set at $250,000.
The shooting left Mesa paralyzed.
“I’m paralyzed from my stomach, from my belly button down, not just my waist. It hurts. The doctor said the spine takes about eight months to heal, it will be a lot of recovery, and I might not ever get my feeling back,” said Mesa.
His family has set up a GoFundMe to help with medical costs.
Police are still looking for the shooter in the case. He is described as a black male, with short dreads. The vehicle that was used during the shooting, is a Tan or bronze Ford Taurus with dark tinted windows.