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William Harper shot in head during home invasion gives hope to mother, family

Posted at 3:31 PM, Oct 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-25 19:16:55-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Nashville man continues to make progress after getting shot in his head during a violent 2016 home invasion.

William Harper, 20, has improved since the incident but many thought he had little chance of surviving after the shooting.

"It took us a long time to get to that point where he's smiling a lot, talking more being more himself because at first he was a little distant and quiet," his mother Samica Payne said.

Payne recalled the night of shooting. It was after midnight and her daughter was coming home after visiting friends during college break.

"I got up, I opened the door and I sat on the couch and a few seconds later I heard her screaming 'mama, mama.' So when I jumped up she was coming through the door and two masked men were behind her and they pushed her in. William was in the back bedroom at the time sleep. I guess he heard her screaming. He woke up and running down the hallway towards the door where one of the guys was standing near the door and they shot him right away," Payne said.

The men ran out of the house after realizing they were in the wrong home.

Payne said her son was reached many milestones during his road to recovery.

In May 2017, Harper walked across a stage without a cane during his graduation at East Nashville Magnet High School.

In 2018, he surprised his mom by dribbling a basketball for the first time.

"They brought me his phone and they showed me a video of him bouncing the ball without a cane. He was walking and I was like 'Oh my God' and that had brightened my day because you know sometimes some days are pretty rough having to deal with some of the stuff he's had to go through," Payne said.

Her son has had to endure some seizures but continues to give others hope.

"They never caught them, have no clue who did it but my dad had told me when it happened 'you got one or two choices, to focus on him or to worry about what's going to happen to them,' My focus has always been on him. William is my top priority. Been there since day one," she said.

William loves watching NBA basketball. His favorite player was Dwayne Wade before retirement. His mom hopes to take William to see a game in person for his 21st birthday on March 4th, 2020. His favorite team is the Houston Rockets.