Jeff Becerra, lead singer of pioneering death metal band Possessed, has walked for the first time since being paralyzed from chest to toe in a shooting in 1989.
Becerra uploaded a video of the incredible feat to Possessed’s TikTok and Instagram on Saturday. The singer explained that he was able to walk “using robotic legs”. It also received an encouraging response from Testament and from former Slayer guitarist Gary Holt, who appropriately commented on several “devil’s horns” emoji.
You can watch the video below.
In 1989, Becerra was robbed at gunpoint by two assailants and shot dead, crippling him from the chest down. He detailed the incident in a 2019 interview with Underground Metal Gamer (via Blabbermouth).
“I have been in a wheelchair longer than I have walked,” Becerra said. “It’s my habit. It wasn’t so much of an accident – I was hit by two different guns in a robbery. I was doing concrete construction. I worked about 13 hours that day. I stopped to buy a bundle of camels [cigarettes] and i guess i flashed a hundred [dollar bill] and on the way out, two guys in balaclavas, little ninjas came running up with guns, “Give me all your fucking money.”
“I kind of resisted; I should have given them the money, but I was screwed, I was stuck,” he continued. “It’s not the first time I’ve had a gun pointed at me and I knew they were serious. We got into a fight, there was no way out and I ended up get shot a few times. The first guy pushed a 9 millimeter up to my chest [points to bullet hole]. It went through the ribs and broke the lungs and stuck in the spine, so I still have a 9mm slug stuck on the T3 vertebrate. I think the second guy was covering me about 15 feet away so there was nowhere to run. It was more like a gut reaction because the first hit was ‘pow!’ and right after, ‘pow!’ “
After the shooting, Becerra entered a five-year period of intense drug and alcohol abuse before changing her life and pursuing new activities. He graduated from college, got married, had children, and later divorced, when he decided to reunite Possessed. The singer formed a new backing group and brought Possessed back on stage in 2007 after a 16-year absence. The group has toured regularly since then, with Becerra performing in a wheelchair.
In 2019, Possessed also released their third album, Revelations of oblivion. It came more than 30 years after their first two LPs, the years 1985 Seven churches and the years 1986 Beyond the gates, the first of which is considered by many to be the very first death metal album.
Congratulations to Becerra for this incredible achievement!
Watch Possessed’s Jeff Becerra walk for the first time since 1989
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