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Wayne County Teenager Works Hard To Overcome Tragedy

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WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. — Steve Johnson has his own business in Wayne County -- impressive considering he is just a teenager.

It is even more impressive considering he can not walk.

Johnson has worked hard to overcome tragedy and enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Johnson has homemade peach ice cream, boiled peanuts in a pot, watermelon on the table, and a bullet in his back.

"Sort of right below the shoulder blades," he said, "and wedged in between the two backbones."

Three years ago, when Johnson was 16, he and a friend were four-wheeling one night, throwing eggs at houses. According to Johnson, a man in one of the houses came out with a gun and started shooting. And then he disappeared.

No one has been charged in the shooting that left Johnson unable to walk.

"We just happened to glimpse him," Johnson said of the shooter. "And when we went past him is when he shot -- shot us from behind.

"We found out that his wife didn't really know where he went. But other than that, we haven't heard anything. I can't waste my time trying to find him, you know."

Johnson does not have the time. He has got a produce stand to run.

"That tells you what a remarkable young man he is," said Johnson's friend, Pete Osborne. "He is not carrying a chip on his shoulder or a grudge or anything like that like anybody, I mean.

"His other friends go to work, and Steve goes to work, and that is what it's all about."

Johnson said that "when it first happened, you don't really know what was going to go on. You just start to think then: "What am I going to do?

"You just learn how to get used to it," Johnson said. "Everything happens for a reason, they tell me."

His little produce stand is Johnson's reason for moving forward without looking back.

At 19, he has taken a stand, determined to not let life pass him by.

The Wayne County Sheriff's Office still is seaching for the man who shot Johnson. Deputies say they are not giving up.

Neither is Johnson. He said he hopes to walk again one day.