CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A local sports standout who was being scouted by the likes of Notre Dame and Bowling Green State University was recently shot, spending weeks in the hospital. He eventually died from those injuries, and his family is more than shocked.
The saying "The good often die young" certainly applies to Michael Chapman, 17, a rising star who attended Ginn Academy. Chapman played multiple positions on the John Hay High School football team.
"My son didn't deserve this. They took my son away from me. He was a good kid. He wasn't out here doing anything," said his mother Neicey Bryant.
She says her son went to church, visited family, and loved to play football.
"This hit home for me," she said. "That was my only son and it's devastating to me right now."
Back on July 6, Chapman was talking to friends at the corner of Ansel and Kenmore. Shots were fired and he was hit. Bryant says he asked her if he could go to the store, and fewer than 10 minutes later she got word he'd been shot.
"I ran up there and my son was laying on the ground," she said.
The bullet paralyzed her son, the reality hitting him harder than any linebacker ever could.
"He said, 'I love football and I know I can't play again.' He had a passion for it and he was great at what he did," said Bryant.
That's not just a loving mother talking, scouts from all over came to see him play. Chapman promised to buy his mother a house some day. On Sunday, all his dreams died with him.
Now, she has to stand up in Chapman's place.
"I hope other mothers are going to step up with me, with this violence, it's got to stop," she said. "We are losing our kids. We are losing children. We've got to stop this."
Like so many mothers before her, she mourns the loss of her son's life, holding onto memories of her beloved son.
"He had a smile that was so big that it would fill the world up," she said. "I'm hurting because I miss my son. But I know he's in God's hand and God knows best."
Chapman played quarterback, safety, and wide receiver for John Hay. On Sunday, hundreds showed up at a vigil for him, a true measure of the young man. His mother said repeatedly the violence has to stop.