Raleigh, N.C. — Four months after he was shot in the back during a violent home invasion that left him in a wheelchair, Jason Beyer is back at work and full of hope that he will someday walk again.
“Every day there’s a new challenge, but it’s something that I’m eager for, something that I want to overcome,” Beyer, 34, said Wednesday. “The small things are difficult: Getting up in bed, getting out of bed. Wow, it’s going to take a lot of work to get this done.”
Beyer said he remembers everything about that Jan. 7 night, when two men broke into his home in the Oakwood neighborhood in Raleigh, sexually assaulted his wife and shot him in the back.
“It's a surreal experience,” he said. “It's one of those things that you think that just doesn't really happen in real life until it does.”
Jahaad Tariem Allah Marshall, 26, and his brother, Shabar Master Marshall, 16, face numerous charges in the case, including attempted murder, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, attempted murder and first-degree forcible sex offense.
After eight weeks at a physical rehabilitation center in Atlanta, Beyer is back at his marketing job at Cornerstone Therapeutics and learning to adjust to life in a wheelchair. He credits his wife for all his progress.
“Her strength that she had displayed since that night all the way through now, it's really been my pillar,” he said. “She’s taken a lot on, things that I used to do that I can’t do any longer – but has done it without complaint.”
The night of the attack, Beyer’s only thought was to protect her. According to a search warrant in the case, Beyer, who was held at gunpoint on the lower floor of his home, called out to his wife as she was held upstairs by the second suspect.
Beyer struggled with his captor and was shot when the second suspect came downstairs to help the first man, the warrant states. The commotion allowed the wife to flee the residence for help.
"While it wasn't the perfect outcome, I consider myself lucky to have gotten out of it alive, with decent function, and really mostly lucky that my wife got out unscathed,” he said.
Doctors have told him he will most likely never walk again, but Beyer perseveres with support from family, friends and neighbors that he described as “truly amazing.”
Co-worker Brian Peters put together a fundraising walk for the family Saturday in Oakwood. Money raised from the event will help pay for medical expenses and the work to make his home wheelchair accessible.
Peters said Beyer is an inspiration to everyone at the office.
“The courage and the compassion and the general positive energy that he's put forth and shown coming out of this tragic event just motivates us all,” Peters said.
The support, in turn, motivates Beyer.
“I made the choice early on to be positive about it,” he said. “I've dealt with some of the emotion. I've dealt with the anger, the frustration.”
He recently returned from a business trip to Washington, D.C., the first in a wheelchair and without the help of his wife.
“The trip itself was great because it was a test of how I could do independently,” he said.
Although challenges remain, including the suspects’ trials, Beyer said he is anxious to get back to the everyday.
“I wanted to stay positive because my focus is I want to beat this, if I can, or at least get to the best place that I can be,” he said. “I owe it to my wife, especially. We had a life that we were pretty happy with, and we want to get back to it as soon as possible.”