Shawn Harrington was driving his oldest daughter to school, part of his morning routine, when he stopped at a red light in Chicago.
Two gunmen, mistaking Shawn for a rival gang member, ran to his car and opened fire. He dove on top of his daughter and pushed her down. A bullet penetrated Shawn’s upper back, bounced off his vertebrae, pierced his lung, and exited through his back. One bullet grazed his shoulder.
The next bullet hit his daughter’s headrest.
Shawn piled on top of his daughter, calmed her – whose life, Chicago police say now, he’d undoubtedly saved – and called 911. He never lost consciousness, but he had no feeling in his legs.
Anyone living in Chicago these days knows how common gunplay has become, especially amongst teenagers. This time it was a clumsy case of mistaken identity, and the shooters – recent dropouts – were quickly caught.
But this story was very, very different.
It involved a Marshall High School teacher and coach who was a former scholarship basketball player at New Mexico State. The story went viral – partly because Shawn Harrington had appeared in the 1995 movie “Hoop Dreams.”
Harrington had done everything right: he’d gotten his degree, found a good job, and was a good father to his two daughters. Now his life had become a nightmare.
After months of rehabilitation this past spring, doctors came to the conclusion that Coach Harrington was paralyzed from the waist down and would likely never walk again.
Shawn knows he has the opportunity to use his experience to help Chicago kids. He calls this tragedy “a minor setback before a major comeback.” He remains remarkably upbeat, and he understands that his life now has a new significance and urgent importance. He has proven to be an outstanding teacher, speaker, and friend to the students of Marshall – and not just to basketball players.
Many innocent victims have been hurt in this country by gun violence. Shawn’s story of remarkable heroism and courage in saving his daughter his unique.
If you wish to help Shawn Financially, please go Here. $75,000 will put Shawn in an accessible vehicle – and help with his medical costs, including the purchase of the revolutionary “Rewalk” robotic machine.