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"How much more can I take": Sacramento family of mistaken identity shooting survivor talk recovery

Sacramento family of mistaken identity shooting survivor on recovery
Sacramento family of mistaken identity shooting survivor on recovery 02:39

SACRAMENTO -- The family of a survivor in a mistaken identity shooting, where two known gang members believed three cousins were rival gang members and then shot into their vehicle nearly two weeks ago, says 28-year-old Johnny Martinez has a 1% chance to ever walk again after a serious spinal injury.

The three cousins were on Gordon Drive where Martinez's mother Lisa said they were helping cousin Isaiah "Zay" Vasquez move into his new home in south Sacramento on the night of September 8. A car, with two known gang members inside, shot into the cousins' vehicle more than a dozen times.

Vasquez died and his two cousins, including Johnny, survived but have been hospitalized with injuries ever since.

Luis Camarillo and Fernando Zambrano were arrested a week after the shooting and remain in custody in Sacramento County.

"I don't want people labeling these boys as something that they're not when they're good kids, they're kindhearted. Their smile lights up a room," said Lisa Martinez, Johnny's mother.

She said she's felt "sadness, anger, and frustration" at the situation, watching her son realize he cannot feel his legs and be unable to do the things, she said, he is used to doing, like even just moving out of bed.

Already, Martinez's mother said their family is updating their home to be more accessible including widening doorways, adding ramps, and creating an accessible space for Martinez to come home to.

Amid the healing, Lisa said, the family's car was stolen on a quick trip to a store nearby the hospital. It happened Wednesday and was reported to the Sacramento Police Department before 5 p.m. Lisa said the car is a silver 2016 Chevy Malibu.

The stolen car was not her focus but led Lisa to ask: "How much more can I take?"

"But in my mind right now, I can't focus on my car, " Lisa said. "I have to go up there and put on a happy face, not let him see that I am stressed, or sad, or worried."

Lisa said her focus, and the family's focus, is on the two cousins' recovery. She wants her son and nephews to be known as the innocent victims they were, making clear that they had no gang connections in any way, shape, or form.

"I know that I need a village right now. I need help," she said.

She hopes someone from the community may see the stolen vehicle and it can be returned quickly to allow them to focus on recovery.

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