Wake County News

St. Augustine's student, Army Reserve member home after nearly losing life in shooting

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) - A Raleigh student shot in the neck earlier this spring while on a trip to South Carolina is back home in the Triangle.

Howard Boone doesn’t remember the moment a bullet pierced his neck, but every breath reminds him life will never be the same.

A promising athlete and a successful student at St. Augustine’s University, Howard served in the Army Reserve, was part of the ROTC program, and earned a $68,000 scholarship. He even jumped from planes at airborne school.

“Whatever he set his mind to, he was doing it,” said his mother, Sheraldine Whitley-Lewis.  

“I planned on doing 20-plus years as an Army officer starting out as a Second Lieutenant,” Boone said.

Proud to join the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, in March he traveled to Columbia, South Carolina for initiation. Later, at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, authorities said someone started shooting into a crowd, hitting three innocent victims, leaving Boone paralyzed from the shoulders down. He now depends on caregivers and machines to keep him alive.


“I never thought I would be in the situation,” Boone said.  

He doesn’t focus on the shooter, but his own future — even if his dreams are much different than before.

“My hopes and goals for the future would be able to be on my feet — at least be able to do more than 50% of what I was doing before. Also, my breathing. I want to be able to get off the ventilator breathe on my own,” he said.

He added, “Of course, we're going to have our moments where we cry and think about different things, but I'm grateful that I'm still here. You know, I’m alive.”  

After some more time to recover, Boone hopes to continue his studies at St. Augustine’s, and said he might like to start his own business one day. 

Right now, the family doesn't have a vehicle that can transport Boone, and his mom hopes to be able to get a specially-equipped van. The family has a GoFundMe page to help fund his expenses for round-the-clock care, medical supplies, and that specially-equipped vehicle.


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