13-year-old valedictorian fighting for his life after 15-year-old friend shot him

Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:44 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Thirteen-year-old Curtis Jackson has been in MetroHealth for 11 days now, after being gunned down while riding his bike on Cleveland’s west side.

His father said he has had five surgeries now, and while he’s getting stronger, he’s still got a long way to go.

“For this to happen to him in this kind of fashion, it’s cold-blooded, it’s cold,” Jackson’s father said. “To be shot 7 times, you know then kicked.”

His son Curtis had just graduated middle school as valedictorian, and was set to start high school at St. Edward’s next week.

Instead, he is lying in a hospital bed.

“Aw I can’t let him out of my sight you know,” his father told us. “I whisper in his ear every night, I whisper in his ear like it’s just me and you I can’t let you out my sight no more, it’s just me and you. Things happen. Life comes at you fast but this one right here really hit home.”

Jackson’s father, also named Curtis Jackson, told 19 News his son was knocked off his bike and shot seven times buy a 15-year-old he considered to be his friend.

The teen was shot four times in the chest, twice in the arm and a bullet grazed his head.

According to witnesses, the shooter kicked Jackson in the head after shooting him, and then ran off.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Jackson admitted. “You know you try to be a firm, fair father you know what I’m saying. He’s been doing all the right things. So, I try to be lenient on him and you know let him do what boys do, go to the park, play basketball that’s what he likes to do, and hang out with friends. I don’t know it’s just a tragedy that this happened you know I don’t know what’s wrong with kids these days.”

He said his son is a straight-A student, and also plays basketball and football.

“It’s getting bad around here,” said Jackson. “It’s just the gun violence man and they’re getting younger and younger. My son is 13 years old; his birthday is Saturday.”

Jackson’s teachers started a GoFundMe to help his family during this difficult time.

“It’s an indescribable feeling,” the father said. “I’ve never felt this kind of love before but that’s what kind of kid my son is, he left an impression on a lot of people, people I didn’t even know.”

Jackson’s dad said he doesn’t know when his son will come home but he’s hopeful that Wednesday was his last surgery.

According to reports, the 15-year-old shooter turned himself into police.