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Shooting Victims Recovering

Of the five people shot by a man with an automatic weapon at North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, one remained hospitalized Saturday.

Among those injured were three young boys attending the center's day camp, a teen-age counselor and a receptionist. Five-year-old Benjamin Kadish remained in critical but stable condition after being shot in the abdomen and leg. Doctors planned to wean him off a respirator, said hospital spokesman Steve Rutledge.

Six-year-old Joshua Stepakoff was released from the hospital Friday afternoon, sporting floral print shorts, a black Los Angeles Police Department baseball cap and a knee-high cast on his left leg.

"My family and I want to express our sincere appreciation for the outpouring of support we have received from around the country," said his father, Alan Stepakoff.

Joshua is not ready to talk about what happened and the family also is having difficulty dealing with it, the father said.

"I cannot understand someone who has that kind of hate," Stepakoff said. "There's no way we can lock ourselves up and live in fear of these kinds of instances. We can't allow those kind of people to ruin our lives."

Both Josh and his brother are expected to return to the center.

Another 6-year-old and the 16-year-old counselor shot in the shin and thigh were released earlier from the hospital.

Center receptionist Isabelle Shalometh, 68, was released Tuesday night. She was hit in the arm and back when the gunman strode into the community center and began pulling the trigger of his semiautomatic weapon.

Shalometh dove behind a counter as bullets shredded a stack of papers on a desk, grazed her back and arm and hammered into the walls.

Shalometh has worked at the center in suburban Granada Hills for almost 20 years.

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