As a California school reopened weeks after it came under fire by a gunman hell-bent on causing mayhem and loss, a 6-year-old boy who was shot twice is struggling with the idea of returning.
Alejandro Hernandez was struck by two bullets when 43-year-old Kevin Neal unloaded about 100 rounds at Rancho Tehama Elementary School outside Sacramento on Nov. 14.
Neal was killed by police, but not before fatally shooting four people and injuring two children, including Alejandro, who was transported by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center with gunshot wound to his right lung and foot.
The bullet remains in his chest, but doctors consider Alejandro’s case to be a miracle.
“They say that he was really lucky because if it would've been in this side, it would've hit his heart,” his mother, Angelica Monroy, told KCRC-TV.
It took less than two weeks for Alejandro to recover enough to return home, but the little boy is still grappling with the incident.
“He asked me, ‘Mom, what about the bullet that I have here? Are they going to take it out?’” Monroy said of her son’s chest wound. “He’s scared.”
When asked if he would ever consider going back to the school where he was shot, Alejandro shook his head.
“If he doesn’t feel okay to go, I’m not going to push him to go,” his mother said.
The entire family plans to make a fresh start in a new town, away from the constant reminders of the shooting.
“I want to move out,” Monroy said, before tearing up. “It’s hard for me to see everything and the school.”
She fights with thoughts of how things would be if Alejandro didn’t attend Rancho Tehama Elementary, and how much worse they could’ve been still.
“Because I felt the worse, like maybe, if he would've been dead in there? Imagine that? No, I don't want to go there,” she said.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to offset the costs of Alejandro’s medical bills. As of Tuesday, about $26,000 of their $50,000 goal has been raised.