The Missouri man who shot and paralyzed an Amazon driver for parking in a disabled parking spot was convicted of first-degree assault and armed criminal action on March 13.
Seventy-year-old Larry Thomlison was found guilty of shooting then-21-year-old Jaylen Walker in the back and paralyzing him from the waist down at a Target store in St. Charles, Missouri, on March 5, 2019, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Walker illegally parked his Amazon delivery van in a disability-accessible parking spot behind the Target located at 3881 Mexico Road as he talked with another Amazon delivery driver.
Thomlison was driving a vehicle with a disabled permit placard and took a photograph of the Amazon van before posting the image to social media and confronting Walker. As Thomlison tried to take a picture of him, Walker pushed his hand away, prompting Thomlison to punch him. The two men began to tussle and fell to the ground when Thomlison pulled out his gun.
Video footage of the shooting showed Walker trying to run away from Thomlison before he was twice shot in the back.
“He fell to the ground, and I started to run, and I looked back, and he was fumbling for a gun on his hip. Right, when I turned the corner, I was shot,” Walker later said.
He added that he was shocked to see Thomlison pull out his gun.
“When he pulled the gun out, my eyes were just amazed,” said Walker. “I tried to run in between two cars. He had a nice aim and hit me right in the spine.”
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar released a statement noting the severity of Thomlison’s crimes.
“He showed clear reckless disregard for life,” said Lohmar. “Any responsible gun owner will tell you this is not OK.”
Walker spent several months hospitalized following the shooting and has also been in and out of rehabilitation at the Paraquad Stephen A. Orthwein Center in South City. He still has the bullets fired by Thomlison in his spine.
“I have both of my bullets still in my spine,” said Walker. “I felt like it was a curse at first, but I had to look at it as a whole vision I wasn’t able to see at.”
Walker is trying to turn his negative experience into a positive one by using his experience as an athlete to train for the 2024 Paralympics.
“I’m also training to qualify for the 2024 Paralympics,” he said. “I played college basketball. I also played numerous sports in High School, so I was always competitive. I look at this like a second chance. I wasn’t able to make the Olympics standing up, so this is my second chance.”
Just days after the shooting, Walker said that he did not want hate in his heart.
“I could’ve died right there. I do not want that hatred on my heart,” he said. “I don’t want to die saying I hate anyone.”
Mark Cantor, Walker’s personal injury attorney, added that his client forgave Thomlison and didn’t fight his bond reduction but also noted his intent to sue. Walker filed a $250 million civil lawsuit against Thomlison back in 2019.
“He continues to forgive Mr. Thomlinson, and that’s pretty amazing when you think about it,” Cantor said. “Although we are allowing the criminal justice system to do its job, we are pursuing all civil remedies, and we will continue to do so. Don’t get confused between forgiveness and forgetfulness. We will forgive, but we will never forget.”
Thomlison’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 1.