CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - When Terrell Thomas was convicted of attempted murder and assault with intent to kill in a Cabarrus County court Tuesday, a chapter in Greg McKee's life came to a close.
McKee was shot at a rest area off of I-85 in Cabarrus County in November of 2015. The victim and his family were returning to their home in Gaston County after a Thanksgiving trip.
The shooting took place in a bathroom at the rest area. Investigators believe it was intended to be a robbery.
Darren Manuel and Terrell Thomas were arrested in the weeks following the shooting. Both are now serving time in prison for the crime. Thomas will be behind bars for at least 23 years.
McKee survived the shooting, but was left without the use of his legs. He spoke to WBTV about the incident for the first time Wednesday evening. He is glad the men responsible for the senseless violence are off the streets.
"It's protecting the community. For me it doesn't matter," said McKee.
He said that immediately after he was shot, his attention started to turn towards the future
"Medical attention, surgery, whatever it's gonna be then we're gonna rehab from here," McKee recalls thinking.
He said doctors have only given him a three percent chance to walk again. While the circumstances have made his life more difficult, he refuses to let the situation get him down.
"I have an opportunity to get myself out of bed. There are those that don't," said McKee.
The paraplegic said he and his wife both forgave the men responsible for the heinous crime. McKee's wife, Terrie McKee, said she can still picture her husband lying in a pool of his own blood.
"I would not wish that on the people who did this," said Terrie McKee. "It was just horrific."
This chapter of the McKee's life appears to have closed with the conviction and sentencing of Terrell Thomas. The family will keep moving forward with the strong faith they have in God. Greg McKee said he is still regaining strength in his legs.
"I've got some movement regained, but nothing to be able to walk on at this point. Maybe some day. It may not be this side of heaven, but I'll walk again," said Greg McKee.
He said he has started playing in a wheelchair basketball organization. He said it works as physical therapy for him.
Terrie McKee is writing a book about the shooting experience and how the family's faith in God helped get them through the tough times.