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Fundraiser for 'Hoop Dreams' Star Paralyzed While Saving Daughter

By Darryl Holliday | July 23, 2015 8:40am

HUMBOLDT PARK — An assistant Marshall Metropolitan High School boys basketball coach needs help after his heroic actions saved the life of his daughter last year but left him seriously injured.

Shawn Harrington was shot and paralyzed when several gunmen, mistaking Harrington for another man, fired several rounds into his car Jan. 31, 2014, as he drove his oldest daughter to school.

Harrington immediately dove across the car to protect his daughter as a bullet penetrated his upper back, bounced off his vertebrae, pierced his lung and exited through his back, according to a new fundraiser for the coach. One bullet then grazed his shoulder.

"Still piled on top of his daughter, Shawn calmed the girl — whose life, Chicago police say now, he’d undoubtedly saved — and called 911. He never lost consciousness, but he had no feeling in his legs," the fundraiser reads.

Police later found another bullet lodged in the headrest of his daughter's seat, prosecutors said.

Deandre Thompson, 21, was later charged in the shooting.

Though paralyzed from the waist down, Harrington calls the tragedy “a minor setback before a major comeback,” according to organizers of a RocketHub fundraiser, which is currently thousands short of its goal with little more than a day to go.

Harrington needs a van and $75,000 to help pay for computerized legs called ReWalk Technology that could allow him to take his daughter to school again.

Harrington, who played on the 1994 Marshall High School basketball team that was prominently featured in the documentary "Hoop Dreams," is described by many as a talented man “who had done everything right."

(Shawn Harrington)

A friend and fan had nothing but praise for the former New Mexico State basketball player on a RocketHub fundraiser page for Harrington. Wall Street financial advisor and basketball color analyst Steve Yellen says he cheered Harrington during his New Mexico State days and was moved by his leadership and dedication to teammates and family.

“Our goal is to help Shawn get the van he needs to be independent and mobile as a paraplegic,” Yellen wrote. “He saved his daughter's life by diving on her during a mistaken identity drive by shooting and took a bullet in his lower back. Given the recent outbreak of violence in this part of Chicago, the love and courage Shawn has exhibited, gives us all hope.”

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