TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A Topeka teen is on the road to recovery after he was shot last month.
Demetrius Scaife was a student at Topeka High School. Now, instead of worrying about school work and sports like most kids his age, he’s in a rehab facility recovering from a shooting that almost cost him his life.
His aunt Deb Shaoul remembers the moment she got the news that her nephew had been seriously hurt.
“I don’t know how you process that type of information in the moment,” recalled Shaoul.
Demetrius suffered a traumatic brain injury and the left side of his body was paralyzed as a result of a shooting.
“It was complete and utter chaos,” said Shaoul. “Trying to figure out what happened, why it happened when it happened. His state of ability, how he was going to turn out, we had no idea.”
Demetrius survived. But, gun violence involving teens has been a growing concern for some community members.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, two teens were shot and killed in Topeka in 2019. While it’s not a large number, Executive Director for the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice Jim McCollough said it’s two too many.
“The effects of gun violence are devastating to our community,” said McCollough. “They’re devestating within the community of our young people.”
Last year, the Topeka Center for Peace and Justice partnered up with law enforcement and other community organizations for an initiative called SAVE.
It stands for strategies against violence everywhere. It focuses on trying to deter high risk individuals from engaging in violence.
“Our objective is to come together with stakeholders in this initiative of community leaders that represent law enforcement, represent the hospital, represent the community, represent all facets of the community to say we’re locking arms to tackle this problem,” said McCollough.
While Demetrius is making progress in his recovery, the impact of gun violence has changed his life and his family’s life forever.
“How do we rally together as a community? It’s speaking up,” said Shaoul. “It’s speaking out. It’s looking out for each other. It’s bonding together and being able to protect our youth.”
Demetrius’ case is still under investigation. The details surrounding the shooting are unknown at this time.
Shaoul said if there’s one thing she wants others to take away from this is for parents to talk with their kids, and let them know that they should never be afraid to reach out and ask for help if something doesn’t seem quite right.
Community members have pitched in to help by raising money for Demetrius’ family while he recovers.
For more information on how you can donate, click HERE.