The son of a television personality celebrated Christmas with his family last week, more than three months after he was hospitalized in an alleged drive-by shooting that occurred in Lake Havasu City.
For 23-year-old Garrett Dotson - the son of A&E Network’s “Storage Wars” star Dan Dotson - physical recovery has been a long and painful process. According to police, Dotson was shot during a confrontation with Havasu resident Garrett Wilder, 19, in mid-September. Wilder allegedly fired one round from a .380 caliber pistol before driving away from the scene.
“I have a scar from my sternum to my belt buckle that’s a daily reminder that I’m lucky to be alive,” Dotson said. “The bullet is still currently stuck in my L3 vertebrae. This forced me to wear a back brace for eight weeks. The healing process was unbearable and a constant struggle.”
According to Dotson, doctors said the healing process would take about six months, but he’s been determined to recover. He was grateful to celebrate this Christmas with his family, he said - but his life is now far from what it once was. As the owner of a small business in Yucaipa, California, Dotson says he’s had to rely on family and friends to keep that business running. He’s only recently returned to work, but the impact of the shooting has been substantial.
“This has been a very difficult time for me, but thankfully I’ve been able to fall back on my parents, and I have their help financially and emotionally,” Dotson said. “This has humbled me and changed my life.”
Although Dotson’s physical recovery has progressed since the shooting, his financial recovery could take far longer.
“I’ve applied for Medi-Cal, and to the Mohave County Victims Fund,” Dotson said this month. “My hopes are that my entire medical bills will be covered. I believe the medical bills are around $280,000. And regardless of who pays these bills, the shooter should be financially responsible to pay this back completely.”
Wilder now awaits trial on felony counts including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, disorderly conduct with a weapon and drive-by shooting. According to alleged witness statements, Dotson was standing outside of a rental home in the area of Injo Drive on Sept. 13, when Wilder stopped his vehicle nearby.
According to police, Wilder took umbrage with a non-local residing in Havasu, and allegedly shouted for Dotson to “go back where he came from.”
Dotson allegedly approached Wilder and attempted to confront him. Wilder, who was armed with a .380 caliber pistol, fired from the vehicle and struck Dotson before leaving the scene. The Lake Havasu City Police Department elicited the public’s assistance in locating the shooter, and allegedly received information of Wilder’s involvement the day after the shooting took place.
As Dotson received treatment at a Las Vegas hospital for life-threatening injuries, investigators obtained a warrant to search Wilder’s residence. Detectives allegedly found the weapon used in the offense at Wilder’s home, as well as a single spent shell casing.
According to police, Wilder told detectives he believed Dotson and a companion of Dotson’s at the scene may have intended him harm when they approached his vehicle at the time of the shooting. Wilder allegedly said Dotson attempted to pull the door handle of his vehicle, and he felt that his life was in jeopardy when he shot the victim.
This month, Dotson said he is willing to testify to the contrary.
“I would be very willing to testify against Garrett Wilder for this senseless, violent act,” Dotson said. “I want the court to seek justice and for the shooter to be held responsible for his crime, and the cost of all medical bills and expenses that Medi-Cal, the Mohave Victims Fund and myself will incur.”
Wilder is scheduled to appear in Mohave Superior Court on Jan. 4 for a pre-trial conference in the case. As of Monday, Wilder remained in custody at Mohave County Jail on $250,000 bond.