Leo student paralyzed in shooting goes to senior prom: ‘I’m still here’
BY BECKY SCHLIKERMAN Staff Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 3, 2013 11:35PM
Angela Turner kisses his son, Miles V before heading out to the prom at the Turner's Residence, Chicago, on Friday, May 3, 2013. | Ting Shen~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 6, 2013 6:59AM
When Miles Turner was shot and left paralyzed, his family didn’t know if he’d make it to his senior prom.
On Friday. the 18-year-old Leo High School student donned a sharp suit and attended the seminal teenage event.
“Oh it feels good, it feels good, it feels good,” his beaming mother, Angela Turner, said looking on at her son.
About 50 people, Leo students and their dolled-up dates, gathered at the Holiday Inn near Midway where they celebrated the end of high school.
Some of the students at the all-boys school decided to attend the prom once they found out Turner, who was shot in October, was going to be there, said Dan McGrath, president of the school and an occasional sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Friday also marked Turner’s return home since the shooting.
After Turner left the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago on Friday morning, he and his mother, father and sister headed to Jerry’s Salon on 63rd Street so Turner could get his hair cut for the big night.
He got rid of the signature dreadlocks he had sported for more than four years and left the neighborhood barbershop with cropped hair.
“Son, you looking good,” Miles Turner IV said.
It was just about a block away from where Turner was shot last Oct. 13, a Saturday, in the 6300 block of South Rhodes.
Turner was visiting a young lady he had taken to her prom. She had people come over to celebrate her last weekend in Chicago before returning to Western Illinois University after fall break. Turner’s cousin, Modell McCambry, also was at the gathering when a gunman walked up to the front porch and opened fire, the young woman who lived at the home told the Sun-Times at the time.
Turner saw that his cousin had been shot and ran to his aid — sustaining eight gunshot wounds, his mom said. McCambry was declared dead at Stroger Hospital.
Turner was shot primarily in the back and his spinal cord was hit, which left him paralyzed from the waist down, his mom said.
He was in a coma for about a month and had been at the Rehabilitation Institute since February, his mother said.
The hair isn’t the only major change in Turner’s looks. Before the shooting, the 6 foot 1 inch football player weighed 380 pounds. Now he’s at 298 pounds after reaching a low of about 200 pounds, family said.
Turner’s dad said the prom, an ordinary teenage milestone, is a major day for their family.
“He’s alive,” the elder Turner said. “That’s what it means to me.”
Next, the teen wants to walk and swim and do all the things he used to do.
Now he can wiggle his toes and move his legs slightly, and he has feeling in his legs — all good signs, his mom said.
On Friday evening, with the help of his dad, he put on a crisp white suit — just like his dad wore to his own prom. But the teen made it his own with an “ocean blue” vest and bow tie.
When Turner was all dressed — including the shiny class ring on his index finger — his family crowded around the bedroom to look.
“Oh look at my baby,” Turner’s mom said, smiling. “My baby just looks so good.”
His grandmother and one of his sisters started crying when they saw him.
“I’m ready to go,” Miles Turner said.
He didn’t take a date to the prom because the girl he wanted to go with — the same girl he was visiting when he was shot — was at university and couldn’t make it into the city, family said.
At the prom, the teens gathered a hotel ballroom decorated in gold and black, took photos, listened to booming music and ate dinner. The theme was “Our Night to Shine.”
The guys gathered around Turner, shook his hand and patted him on the back.
Marshon Tucker, a senior at Leo who grew up with Turner said, “It’s a blessing to see him here.”
Turner is expected to graduate in June, and he hopes to walk across the stage, McGrath said.
After that, Turner wants to go to college and study to become a video game designer.
“I’m still here,” Turner said. “I’m still living and pushing.”