Judge awards $21.5M to Bend man paralyzed after 2017 Prineville shooting

A Crook County judge has awarded $21.5 million to a Bend man paralyzed from the waist down after a 2017 shooting.

Court documents show Nicholas Ricks, now 41, was shot by Omar Araim outside a Prineville bar on New Year’s Eve after trying to break up a fight between two women, including Araim’s girlfriend.

Ricks’ attorney Tim Williams filed a lawsuit against Arain in 2019 asking for compensation for injuries and complications from the shooting.

Araim was sentenced to 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder and other charges in 2018.

“This injury is about as bad as they get,” Williams said. “All he was trying to do is help, yet he paid a grave price for his altruism. Once a very active man who worked hard and played hard with his kids is now left bound to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. It is sad on an epic proportion.”

The lawsuit said Ricks suffered multiple injuries in the shooting, including two shattered bones in his vertebrae causing complete paralysis of the bladder, bowel, pelvis and legs.

Ricks spent four months at St. Charles, nearly dying several times from blood clots, organ failure and infection, Williams said.

To date, he’s had 16 surgeries and continues to suffer with severe pain and emotional distress, according to the complaint.

“The Court’s award represents all the civil justice system is able to provide – monetary relief for devastating and life altering injuries,” Williams said. “While no amount of money is worth the suffering Mr. Ricks has gone through and will continue to go through for the rest of his life, it is the only recourse available to those injured by the senseless acts of others.”

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