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Melanie Brown
Families struggle to care for victims of violence
Families struggle to care for victims of violence

His mother remembers the way he used to be: a daredevil with an athletic build who drove a red Pontiac Firebird, listened to hard rock bands like Metallica and did handstands on his thumbs. But when a neighbor waving a gun shot Charles "Chuck" Ropka in the head, the Parkville 18-year-old was left paralyzed on his left side. The shooting derailed the high school graduate's plans to study to become a diesel mechanic. Instead of seeing him move out on his own, his mother, Shirley Ropka, suddenly had to make a place to care for him in the family's basement. And that's where he still lives — 35 years later. "He gets mad when I say it, but it felt like I had...