QUEENS — An aspiring R&B artist may end up paralyzed after he was shot in the back earlier this month in Jamaica while on his way to a singing class with celebrity vocal coach Craig Derry, police sources and his family said.
The shooting, the first in the 103rd Precinct this year, took place on Jan. 2 around 5:30 p.m. at 158th Street and Beaver Road, near the Long Island Rail Road underpass and only one block away from the Jamaica Center subway station, police said.
The victim, 27, whose stage name is C-Jay — but whose full name is being withheld by DNAinfo for safety reasons — was shot in the back by a gunman who approached him from behind.
According to his bio on his Facebook page, C-Jay grew up in Brownsville. He started singing when he was 7, but his passion developed in his 20's after he met and started training with Derry, who according to his website, has worked with Katy Perry, Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys.
C-Jay's mother said that her son, who works at Home Depot, just parked his car and was on his way to Manhattan for his vocal class when he got shot.
"He's been going to this place every day for many years," his mother said. "That's all he does — he goes to work and then he goes over there."
Police sources said that the victim, who has no criminal history, was not able to provide a description of the shooter. He appeared to be targeted but the motive remains unclear, sources said.
But his family believe it could have been a case of mistaken identity.
"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said C-Jay's stepmother.
Family members and police sources said that C-Jay is at the hospital in stable condition but he may end up being paralyzed.
"He can't move," said his stepmother, adding that the bullet hit him in the upper back, near the spinal cord. "He's got a long road to recovery."
Derry described his student as "a very talented, determined, very intelligent, smart and hard-working guy" who was assisting him at his Midtown studio.
"He would help everybody, he is a good kid," said Derry.
C-Jay has recorded a number of songs and described his style as a fusion of pop, rock and R&B, according to his Facebook page.
C-Jay's family created a GoFundMe page, "Justice for Cjay," to collect money for medical bills.
"He inspires everyone he meets and leaves a great impression on them," the family wrote on the fundraising website.
As of Thursday morning, the site have raised more than $3,300.
"Everybody loves my son," his mother said. "He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t hang out with the wrong people. I really don't know what happened."
No arrests have been made as of Thursday morning, police said. A $2,000 award is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the gunman.