Boy shot while sleeping released from hospital

September 26, 2012 6:37:41 PM PDT
He's not even a teenager, but he's a victim of gang violence in Oakland and on Wednesday, he returned home to a neighborhood his whole family is afraid to live in. The 11-year-old was asleep in his bed when bullets tore through his home, one piercing his liver. His homecoming was bittersweet.

This is one of those stories that people may interpret differently. For some, it's a happy ending, a child finally coming home safe and sound after five surgeries. But it's a home he doesn't feel safe in, so what kind of home is it? It's a neighborhood in Oakland where maybe the dogs sleep well, but no one else. If the visuals don't paint an adequate portrait, the anecdotes will.

"This is dangerous right here," Francisco Hernandez says. "Only gunshots. We used to hear a lot of gunshots," his wife Anna says. That is the type of neighborhood the couple brought their boy home to. If Luis appeared to be walking slowly and gingerly, he had 16 good reasons. One can count the bullet holes that riddle the house. One in particular passed through three walls last week and hit Luis in the chest. "I remember I was crying, running around. There was blood all over the floor," Luis recalled.

"It is real hard, real hard. You cannot imagine when you see your kid come from his room crying, bleeding," Francisco says. It's harder still for a father, is to look up from his pillow to see the headboard and the hole from one bullet that barely missed. "It is almost a massacre right here," he said.

Welcome home Luis.

"He's afraid. He's scare it might happen again," his mother said, admitting that she too is scared. A family of five, a family of faith, and a family stuck in a hard luck rental looking for a way out. Maybe the one prospect worse than being told you can't go home again is having no other option. "I couldn't keep my kids right here. You know? Every day you have to wake up and see the holes right there and have this happen. I'm never going to forget this," Francisco said.

The Oakland Police Department had no new details about the case Wednesday. In the meantime, the Hernandez family has two new problems. They're looking for a new place to live and they have the unexpected medical bills.


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