Federal Way restaurant owner paralyzed from chest down after road rage shooting

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — The Federal Way community is heartbroken after the beloved owner of Mediterranean Gyro Grill, Jay Barbour, was shot during a road rage incident in Tacoma.

Police said a 20-year-old shot at Barbour’s car during a road rage incident at 29th Street NE and Norpoint Way. One of the bullets hit Barbour in the spine; his family confirmed that he is now paralyzed from the chest down.

Wassim Azzam, Barbour’s brother-in-law, said Barbour is still recovering at a local hospital. Doctors have told the family the chances of Barbour walking again are slim to none. Despite that, the family is hoping a miracle can happen.

“All we can do at this point is pray for him and hope a miracle happens. He’s in a bad situation,” Azzam said.

Customers shared with KIRO 7 that Barbour was a one-of-a-kind guy who truly cared about his community.

“He would always ask us how it was. He would ask for feedback. He would make menu changes because of our suggestions,” customer Darcy Morris said.

“He likes to make people happy. He likes to do anything to make people happy,” Azzam said.

But Azzam said Barbour told him the two men were cussing at him about his driving and he was trying to get away. Barbour told Azzam that he tried to keep the peace and move on from the language, but the two kept cursing at him. He said that Barbour then tried to get away from them, but at the next red light, two shots were fired, ultimately hitting Barbour.

“At that point, Jay could not move his legs. Thank God his right foot was on the brake pedal,” Azzam said.

Azzam said he was with family on vacation out of state when he got the news. When he got the call that his brother-in-law was in an accident, the family rushed home as quickly as they could. He said to think that someone would do this to Barbour is heartbreaking.

“Think about your actions and the consequences. This guy’s actions ... the consequences of his actions paralyzed a good man. A good person. Like I said, no one deserves this. Not even bad people deserve it,” Azzam said.

Tacoma police arrested both the 20-year-old and a 19-year-old involved in the incident. Both were taken to the Pierce County Jail.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Barbour and his family, which can be accessed by clicking this link.