Tyreik Gadsden, 5, diagnosed with meningitis, family attorney says

Tyreik Gadsden rolls down the hall of a North Carolina rehabilitation hospital in his new wheelchair. The 5-year-old was paralyzed after he was shot on Charleston’s East Side.

Doctors suspended physical therapy sessions for Tyreik Gadsden this week after the 5-year-old developed an infection at the site of a bullet wound that damaged his spine and left him paralyzed.

Tyreik, of North Charleston, began showing signs of meningitis Sunday and has since been placed on two different types of antibiotics, according to Michael Cooper, his family’s attorney.

“It’s serious,” Cooper said. “For three days he couldn’t even move his neck and he had terrible, terrible headaches.”

The antibiotics have helped ease some of the symptoms, Cooper said. Doctors intend to drain fluid from the boy’s spine and re-evaluate his condition on Friday, he said.

Tyreik was visiting his grandmother on May 22 at Charleston’s Wraggborough Homes housing project in the area of Mary and America streets when a stray bullet struck him in the back a few feet from her front door.

He’s currently receiving treatment at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

Tyreik was moved from the facility’s rehabilitation center after developing the infection, Cooper said, though he’s still being treated at the hospital.

It’s unclear what brought on the infection, Cooper said.

A fundraiser will be held 7-9 p.m. Friday at Scott’s Grand Banquet Hall, 5060 Dorchester Road in North Charleston, to contribute toward the boy’s medical bills.

Charleston mayoral candidate John Tecklenburg will perform at the benefit as part of the Lonnie Hamilton and John Tecklenburg Jazz Ensemble, featuring Jamie Harris and Gerald “Cameo” Williams, according to a news release.

“Lonnie, Jamie, Gerald and I are all deeply honored to have been asked to play a small role in helping Tyreik and his family during this difficult time,” Tecklenburg said. “As I said last week, this tragic shooting reminds us all that the fractious debates which so often seem to divide our community pale next to the shared values that bring us together. As parents, we love our children. As citizens, we demand justice for the innocent. And, as people, we dream of a world that knows nothing of boys in wheelchairs or families in grief.”

Additional donations can be made to the Tyreik Gadsden Benefit Fund at any South Carolina Federal Credit Union.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.