DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) – In the wake of the shooting death of Stephen Perkins, a neighbor says he is stuck in time with physical reminders of the tragic event.
Justin Shepherd, a neighbor of Perkins, said he was woken up by bullets hitting his home in the early morning hours of September 29.
“It kind of put me in fight or flight mode because I’ve been to combat,” Shepherd told News 19. As a retired Army veteran, Shepherd said he “knew something was wrong.”
He would later find out that Perkins, 39, was shot and killed by police during an incident involving a vehicle repossession. Doorbell video footage that has circulated around social media has shown more than 15 bullets were fired. Shepherd said seven landed in his home.
But it’s the trauma he’s dealing with almost two weeks after the incident that’s struck him the hardest.
“I’ve called the Veteran Crisis Line quite a few times to try and deal with my anxiety, to bring me back down and do a mental reset. It’s hard. It’s hard to process not only losing a friend but watching it happen and not receiving any help,” Shepherd said.
Bullet holes can still be seen in the outer walls, roofing, and gutters of the home. After receiving a roof inspection, Shepherd said three bullets were found in his roof. But the damage didn’t stop there.
“I would flip the lights on for you,” Shepherd explained. “But they don’t work because the bullet hole hit the electrical wire leading down to that box.”
Now, Shepherd says he will also have to find the money to rewire that part of his house. =
Shepherd’s biggest struggle is that he has yet to receive help with the repairs. He’s reached out to Veteran Services and city officials but has not received any assistance.
After attending city council meetings and protests since the shooting, Shepherd got a phone call from Decatur City Council President Jacob Ladner Tuesday morning, but the call didn’t bring any concrete answers. And he thinks he shouldn’t have had to wait that long to hear back from someone with the city.
“I feel neglected in a way that nobody has reached out and said, ‘Hey, here’s an advocate from the city on our behalf,’ Nobody’s offered that kind of compassion,” Shepherd said.
Tuesday, Shepherd told News 19 that Ladner said someone from the city would be reaching out to him. After following up Wednesday afternoon, Shepherd said he had not received a call. He still hopes to get help and his home repaired.
“I would like my home restored and fixed, not patched up. I don’t want some sloppy job. I would like to feel safe back in my home,” Shepherd continued.
Through his own struggles, he says nothing amounts to the loss of his friend and neighbor.
“I can only imagine what Steve’s family is feeling knowing that I have been neglected like that because they suffered a far larger loss and haven’t gotten that compassion either.”
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) continues to investigate the shooting. You can find all of News 19’s previous coverage and the latest on this case here.