Security guard determined to walk again after being shot in the back: ‘It’s overwhelming’

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FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Damario Johnson is on a mission to walk again, but the challenges are heavy.

"I have days that I just sit in here and I just cry and it's overwhelming," he said.

As his nerves heal from the bullet he took in his spine on Thanksgiving, the pain is so bad some nights that he can't sleep.

"Enough to make me want to not be here anymore," he said.

But he is making progress. His left leg has some mobility, and is healing faster than his right.

Still, Damario struggles as much mentally as he does physically. Sometimes, his mom says he feels forgotten.

"Just reach out...that's all I'm asking," said Sue Ellen Johnson. "Let him know that you are still thinking about him so that he won't feel so down."

This is a fight that mother and son are battling together.

"A lot of the times I don't feel like she should have to go through this, but she's willing to go through it because I'm her son," Damario said.

Each week, Sue Ellen takes him to physical therapy, a challenge in itself because the apartment only has stairs. The only way out is through the muddy grass in the back.

Integrity Construction's Josh Harris worked with Home Depot in Tacoma who donated plywood to help make it easier for Damario to get out.

"If I didn't have that plywood, I would probably just sit here all day," he said.

They're planning to move soon to a building that's wheelchair accessible, but money is tight.

"I stopped working to take care of him so financially, it's a burden but I'm doing what I gotta do," Sue Ellen said.

Damario was working security when he was shot in the back. Federal Way Police are still asking for help to identify a suspect.

"Bullets don't have no names and I just happened to be in the wrong place in the wrong time so if you have information, don't hoard it," Damario said.

The shooter is not his focus right now, though. His priority is getting out of his wheelchair. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with expenses.

"My main goal is just to get back on my feet and walk again, even if it doesn't look like it did 5 months ago."

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound is offering a cash reward of up to a $1,000 for a tip that leads to an arrest and I will personally donate another $1,000 to raise the reward amount to up to $2,000. Submit an anonymous tip at or call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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