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6 Years Later, Girl Paralyzed In Drive-By Shooting Graduates High School

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Six years ago, she was the unintended victim in a drive-by shooting, but Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez never let her paralyzing injury stop her.

Saturday morning, family and friends celebrated her progress and recent graduation from South High School. The 18-year-old will never walk again but continues to make improvements in her range of motion.

"I'm better at movement. I can do a lot more stuff than I used to do," Galeno-Hernandez said.

Every move she makes is a mark of her physical progress and overshadows the moment that changed her life six years ago.

"I got shot when I was 12 and I got paralyzed," Galeno-Hernandez said.

In November 2010, Galeno-Hernandez was hit by the stray bullet of a drive-by shooting. The bullet entered her neck, piercing her spine, and left more than a lasting injury.

"I didn't do anything and now I can't walk because of him, I cannot do stuff I used to do because of him. So, I will always be angry," Galeno-Hernandez said.

Her best revenge may be her fighting spirit. In overcoming her physical challenges, she's inspired people like V.J. Smith of community activist group MAD DADS. It makes him more committed to ensuring others don't become the unintended target of violence

"For every gang member, every thug, every clique, every banger should be thinking about Guadalupe when they think about what they're doing in the streets," Smith said.

Galeno-Hernandez isn't focused on ending the violence -- rather the milestones of teenage life. This year, she met her first boyfriend, graduated high school and is now planning to attend college.

"I'm working on being a teacher," Galeno-Hernandez said.

She knows the next chapter has its own challenges but Galeno-Hernandez also knows how to overcome incredible odds.

"For me, my mom and my brothers and my family and stuff, it just keeps me going," she said.

Guadalupe continues to attend physical therapy for her recovery.

The man who shot her, Marlon Lozano-Montano was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Prosecutors say the drive-by shooting was gang related.

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