Parents of teen shot at Atlanta pool party faces more struggles

ATLANTA - The family of a 17-year-old shot at a spring break pool party in Atlanta said their son has a long road to recovery.

Atlanta police arrested a 17-year-old for the shooting this week.

On April 2, Robert and Camaria Johnson said their son, Robert Johnson III, was at a spring break pool party at an apartment complex at 935 Marietta Street, when gunfire broke out.

"Robert was actually a bystander," Camaria Johnson said.

He got hit three times, once in the back, once in the shoulder and once in the head.

"We couldn't believe it, we didn't believe it," the couple said.

They told us doctors had to remove part of Robert’s skull to relieve swelling in his brain.

Miraculously, Robert survived, but he's in bad shape.

He can breathe on his own, but that's about all he can do at this point.

"He’s pretty much in a vegetative state...if his dad comes in and talks to him, he’ll open his eyes, but he doesn't know which side he's on," Camaria said.

Just this week, APD’s Fugitive Unit arrested 17-year-old Jalin Hammons for the shooting and charged him with aggravated assault.

"I'm glad some justice is finally being served...it's unfortunate, but you caused this issue and now you got to pay for it," Robert Johnson Jr. said.

Right now, these parents are more focused on their son's recovery.

They said the Shepherd Center told them he wasn't "rehab-able."

"That's the word she used, meaning he didn't have any functions, he wasn't able to do anything. So, they didn't see the need to accept him into long-term acute rehab," Camaria said.

After weeks of searching, the couple has found a facility in Indiana that can give their son long-term care in his current condition.

It's going to be expensive to transport him there.

"We'll probably have to get an Angel flight there if Grady transport can't get him the 9 hours there so he would need to be flown," Camaria said.

That's why they've started a GoFundMe, to raise the funds to get him to Indiana.

Doctors didn’t give Robert much of a chance for recovery of functioning.

The Johnsons said he's already defied the odds just by staying alive and believe he can eventually recover some functionality.

"He wasn't supposed to make it, with the trajectory of the bullet, he was not supposed to make it to Grady," Camaria said.

"He's fighting every day, he's a strong kid. I got faith that he'll come through, even if I don't get the same son back as I had before, at least my son will still be here. And I can still love him, I can still talk to him, I'm still able to see him, I can still hug him," Robert Jr. said.

They said they don’t like asking for help but need support if they’re going to get Robert to that facility in Indiana.