Shooting came after fit of rage, says mother of victim
Joshua Stone asked the question after taking a shotgun blast to the back that left him a paraplegic. But Joshua’s mother has a theory: Her estranged father shot her son in a fit of anger, not in defense of a woman as he told police.
“My father who I haven’t seen in 41 years has been calling me and wants me to forgive him,” said Janette Stone, 48, of Champaign, Ill. “I know he was very angry. In my heart I think he shot Josh just because he was angry with him.”
Before the shooting, she said, David Bayless called and left three messages on her answering machine, each time seeming more agitated.
Bayless, 70, shot Joshua Stone in the back with a shotgun last month from a distance of about 12 feet, police said. Stone survived, but he is paralyzed from the waist down as he recuperates at Washoe Medical Center.
Bayless, a South Lake Tahoe resident, has not been charged with a crime. Since the shooting on Aug. 17, he has not returned phone calls from the Tribune or answered the door of his apartment.
Bayless was questioned by police the morning of the shooting and told officers he shot his grandson to protect a woman visiting his apartment. Both Bayless and Stone had been drinking heavily before the shooting, police said; the woman was not injured.
El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Anthony Sears said the case is under review and that it needs further investigation before he determines if criminal charges are appropriate.
Stone, 27, was shot the night he came to South Lake Tahoe to visit a grandfather he had never met. He and Bayless went out to a casino together to drink but eventually split up. Stone said he took a cab back to his grandfather’s apartment and found a female neighbor with Bayless when he got back.
Earlier that day, Stone said, Bayless told him he had had a falling out with the woman and no longer associated with her.
“I told her I didn’t want her around my grandpa,” Stone said by phone from Washoe Medical Center. “I was upset. I actually felt sorry for him, that he was so lonely he had to talk to this woman. Then she said something about my mom and I told her to leave the apartment.
“I think I had just locked the door and he shot me in the back,” Stone said. “He says it was self-defense, that he was trying to protect the woman. At the time he shot me, she wasn’t even in the apartment.”
Laying wounded and bleeding from the right side of his back, Stone said he was numb, then in pain and fighting to stay awake when he asked Bayless, “Why did you kill me, why did you kill me, grandpa?”
Stone said Bayless answered that he thought Stone was going to hurt the woman.
The blast left Stone and Bayless on the floor of the apartment at 1:20 a.m. Bayless had a leg injury from a previous car accident and did not get off the floor after he fired the shotgun. Stone eventually struggled his way to a phone.
“I asked him to call 911 and he just sat on the floor,” Stone said. “The only good thing he did was give me the address (of the apartment). At some point he crawled over and grabbed onto my feet. I don’t know what he was doing.”
Stone said he could hear police commands being shouted before he dragged his body out onto concrete in front of the apartment. He passed out as soon as he got outside.
Doctors told Janette Stone that her son is lucky to be alive. She wants to bring her son home but can’t pay for the trip.
“He cries constantly. He wants me to bring him home, but I can’t afford $10,000 for a medical airlift,” she said.
Joshua Stone is six weeks into the healing process. His doctor says it will take three months before he can begin rehabilitation. Another option is for a surgeon to fuse his back immediately, but Stone said he’ll probably wait to see how things stand after three months have passed.
“It’s a very sharp pain. It feels like somebody is actually burning me. Two weeks ago the pain moved to my knee, three days ago it moved to my hip, now it’s burning my hip and knee at the same time all day long.”
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