A gay man visiting Asheville, North Carolina from Los Angeles for one night was shot and paralyzed from the neck down while waiting for friends to pick him up outside the LGBTQ-friendly nightclub Scandals earlier this month.
Pedro Ventura, who was in town for a friend’s wedding, was standing outside the club when an unidentified assailant drove by and fired several gunshots into a crowd.
Wrote Ventura’s partner Ezra Glenn on a GoFundMe page set up to help with medical expenses: “Despite the presence of up to 300 people in the street, Pedro was the only person hit in the gunfire, and his injuries are severe. The bullet entered his body at the back of his neck and ended up in his C4 vertebra, shattering parts of his spine and severing his spinal cord, initially leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe on his own. It is a miracle that he is alive, and the progress he has already made towards recovery – including regaining partial control of his breathing and movement in his shoulders – has defied doctors’ expectations.”
Asheville-Buncombe Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in the shooting: “Authorities encourage anyone with information about the incident to contact the Asheville Police Department at 828-252-1000 or Asheville-Buncombe Crime Stoppers at 828-255-5050, if they wish to remain anonymous.”
Added the GoFundMe page: “Pedro is a first-generation immigrant from the Dominican Republic who came to New York City at the age of four and was quickly recognized as among the brightest of his peers. Despite not speaking English when he arrived, he was placed in gifted and talented school programs almost immediately, went on to graduate from the prestigious Prep for Prep leadership development program, and became the first member of his family to go to college. After graduating with honors from Wesleyan University in 2010, he went on to establish a career in the music industry which has taken him from New York to Miami and now Los Angeles. Pedro has a deep passion for his work and has thrived by carving his own path, conducting business in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and booking concert tours and festival appearances around the world for artists of all kinds. “