The 17-year-old West Liberty-Salem school shooting victim is expected to get his back brace off in a couple of weeks but still has more than 100 shotgun pellets in his body.
Logan Cole was shot twice Jan. 20 at West Liberty-Salem High School. His father, Ryan Cole, said in a Facebook statement that his son has a neurosurgery appointment last week.
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“It went well. He will get the brace off on (April 20),” Ryan Cole said. “He is very excited for this to happen.”
It is estimated that Logan still has more than 100 pellets in him, Ryan Cole said, and that has caused his body to have high lead levels. Logan was shot twice by a shotgun, authorities said.
Ryan Cole said at last check Logan’s levels were in the 40s, and doctors want to see that number drop into the 20s.
Doctors hope his levels fall soon or Logan might require another surgery to remove many of the pellets in his body, Ryan Cole said. Doctors previously performed surgery on the teen to dislodge a pellet from his heart.
“The neurosurgeon estimated that Logan has 25-35 pellets that are in the soft tissue but laying against the bone of the spine,” Ryan Cole wrote on Facebook. “Pellets in bone are also a known contributor to lead poisoning. He says that he believes he and the wound surgeon can get these pellets should the lead levels in his body justify the risks associated with this surgery.
“This leaves the pellets in the soft tissue (not resting against the spine) and the one in the lung,” Ryan Cole wrote. “We would estimate the remaining ones in the soft tissue to be about 100. In our last meeting with the wound surgeon, she believes she could get many of these.”
Ryan Cole said despite the hardship the shooting has caused his family, it has also put life in perspective for the Cole family.
“Things continue to go well for Logan,” Ryan Cole said. “As time goes on we are continually reminded of the tremendous miracle and blessing it is that he is still here with us. It causes us to keep the other issues and complication in their proper perspective.”
The alleged shooter is expected to be in a Champaign County court Friday for a competency hearing.
Ely Serna, 17, is being held at a juvenile detention center. He’s been accused of shooting two students and firing several other shotgun shots in a restroom and hallway of West Liberty-Salem High School on Jan. 20.
He faces numerous charges, including two counts of attempted murder; three counts of felonious assault; six counts of improperly discharging a firearm; and single counts of inducing panic and illegal conveyance of a deadly weapon in a school, according to the county prosecutor’s office.
Prosecutors are seeking to try Serna as an adult.
Champaign County Juvenile Judge Lori Reisinger ordered a competency hearing in the case at the request of the defense. The competency hearing is to determine whether Serna can understand court proceedings and if he will be able to assist in his own defense.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun first broke the news of a school shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School early the morning of Jan. 20 and has continued to dig into the story, including coverage examining school safety measures and following the suspect’s court case.