After about four-and-a-half months in the hospital, Nyreek Horne, one of the teens wounded in the Jan. 27 shooting near Word Tabernacle Church, finally came home last week.
Nyreek, who at 12 was the youngest of the four wounded that night, spent most of that time recovering at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
“He has been in all parts of the hospital, from the ICU to the regular needs floor,” Nyreek’s mother, Tamika Horne said. “He finally made it from the regular needs floor to rehab. He got there in March, so he has come a long way.”
Initially, doctors told Tamika Horne her son would be a vegetable, she said, due to the damage he received from where a bullet entered near his left eye and exited from the back of his head.
Luckily, Nyreek has made astounding progress.
“It was pretty bad,” Tamika Horne said. “They said he would be a vegetable, so all this stuff he is doing is because he is young. They said he would be a vegetable and probably wouldn’t be able to do anything. Days after they said that, he started doing different things.”
Nyreek is partially paralyzed, requiring the use of a wheelchair to get around, and a tracheostomy prevents him from communicating beyond simple yes or no questions and blinking.
“Slowly but surely, he is getting the use of both sides, but they said he will have no use in his right side,” Tamika Horne said. “He is doing more and more by the day.”
After hearing about the Hornes’ situation, several local churches and faith-based organizations have teamed up to help the family, including donating furniture and constructing a wheel chair ramp at the family’s home.
“Some of our members who have carpenter skills will be building Nyreek Horne a wheelchair ramp,” said the Rev. Elizabeth Edwards, associate pastor at Lakeview Baptist Church.
The idea to help the Horne family came from some students involved with the church, Edwards said.
“I am proud of my kids for understanding these needs,” Edwards said. “Teens are much more aware of those needs – not just here, but around the world.”
Despite all that he has gone through, Tamika Horne said, Nyreek has been extremely positive.
“He has his moments,” Tamika Horne said. “When we first got home, a couple of his friends came over and he got so excited and they were talking to him and he wanted to talk back – but he couldn’t, so he had a moment. He felt like crying.”
Everyone in the community has been very supportive, Tamika Horne said.
“It means a lot,” she said. “I never thought that type of thing existed. The stuff I have seen. People have come up and offered money, gift cards, gas cards – all sorts of things. It just really brought the community together. That alone brings you hope, because there is still someone out there who cares.”
For the Rev. Richard Joyner, the director of pastoral care at Nash UNC Health Care, it is a way for the community to show their support in this tragic time.
“It shows that we are very sensitive to the care of our community in a long-term way,” Joyner said.
Nyreek is expected to begin therapy soon, and it is possible doctors will install a new tube that will allow him to speak, Horne said.