Man shot leaving work downtown remains positive despite possibly being paralyzed

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A man is grateful to be alive after being shot while leaving his work at a downtown area restaurant.

"Got to keep pushing through," said Michael Nelson from the hospital bed.

He relived the night that changed his life Tuesday. It was exactly two weeks ago.

"Just got off work, locked the door, came around the corner, started walking up the hill to my car," he said.

He was leaving the Green Beetle, a popular bar and grill downtown where he worked as a cook.

His car was parked feet away on Vance near South Main. It was Tuesday, March 21 around 10 p.m.

Nelson said he had just climbed into his car when the unthinkable happened.

"All of a sudden the young man jumped into the passenger side. The young female jumped into the back seat. Both aimed their pistols at me," said Nelson.

He didn't fight it. He handed them his car keys and phone, but that wasn't enough.

"Heard a pop. Felt a sharp jab in my back. Actually tapped my leg, and my leg slumped over," he said.

Martemus Gillie and Mashonitruis Davis

He fell to the ground and crawled to the middle of the street. He watched the criminals, who just changed his life forever, casually walk away.

"I grabbed my phone and called my mother up. I told her I loved her. I had been shot," he said.

That bullet pierced Nelson's third vertebrae, ripped through his small and large intestine, and punctured his lung.

He spent the next week in the ICU.

"If they needed money or if they needed something, hell, I would have got them a job at the Green Beetle if it came down to it," Nelson said.

He is now in physical therapy. He's thankful for his life and the support shown by his co-workers, the community and strangers.

"When you lose hope, that's when you give up," he told WREG.

Doctors don't know if he'll ever walk again.

"I'm not going to give up," he said.

Nelson said he plans on living life to the fullest and moving to Florida to live with his family as soon as he gets out of the hospital.

Police said the man, Martemus Gillie, is one of the people who tried to rob Nelson. He's behind bar.

They said he went on to commit more robberies that night.

A woman, Mashonitruis Davis, is charged with one of those crimes. It's unclear if she'll face charges for Nelson's incident.

If you would like to help Nelson in his recovery, click here.