CLEVELAND - A Cleveland mother who was shot five times and left for dead more than two years ago is continuing her fight for justice -- and her fight to relearn how to walk.
Shannon Richmond stopped at the Gas Way near W. 106th and Bellaire in Cleveland on July 23, 2015 to fill up her car when she was shot from behind. An innocent victim caught in the crossfire.
“It felt like a dream,” Richmond said.
But the nightmare was just beginning.
Richmond was paralyzed from the waist down; doctors told her she would never walk again. But step by step, she is determined to prove them wrong.
Through unique physical therapy facilities located in Florida, Richmond has begun to regain some feeling in her legs. For the last year, the rehab bills were paid through donations made through a GoFundMe page and her own savings.
But that money has now run out, and Richmond’s claim for reimbursement from the Victims of Crime Compensation was just denied by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
In the denial, the AG’s office writes, “Since you voluntarily chose to seek the services of a non-Ohio provider when such services were readily available with a local Ohio provider, we are unable to further consider your claim for these medical expenses.”
But Richmond and her attorney, Matthew Shaugnessy, argue that the type of therapy she needs is simply not available in Ohio.
“With these facilities, unique facilities, there’s hope to walk again even though there is no cure for a spinal cord injury,” Richmond said.
“They teach her to walk again, whereas physical therapy in Ohio, they teach her how to live in a wheelchair,” Shaugnessy added.
And a life bound by wheels is not one Richmond wants to endure.
“I don’t categorize myself as a victim, I say that I’m a survivor,” Richmond said.
To date, the Crime Victim’s Fund has reimbursed Richmond less than $500. Victim’s are entitled to a maximum amount of $50,000 and the fund is used as a “last resort” payment when insurance and Medicaid can’t or don’t cover costs. The fund is not taxpayer money -- it is paid by criminal fines.
From the 2016 fiscal year, 5,409 claims were filed, according to the Attorney General’s office, and the total payout was $6.8 million.
Richmond and her attorney have filed for a reconsideration and the AG’s office said a final decision will be made in the coming weeks.