Surprise Squad

Surprise Squad: Domestic violence survivor gets second chance

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

An unexpected target of domestic violence left a valley man severely injured and unable to work.

"The doctors started asking me, 'Do you remember things?'  I said I think I got shot by my sister's boyfriend," said Justin.

According to Justin's mother, Kathleen, her daughter's boyfriend was often abusive, and the young woman had moved in and out of his home several times.  On November 11, 2017, when the boyfriend came to Kathleen's apartment to claim her daughter, the situation quickly turned life-threatening.

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"I remember when he walked in the house, I was about to eat," Justin explained.  "He came in with a lot of hate.  A lot of hate."

"We would never walk into your mom's house like this," Kathleen told the boyfriend.  "So, you need to turn your behind around and walk right out.  And he did, and my son followed him."

"I tried to push my sister to the side and that's when he shot me," said Justin.  

"I stumbled, and I just saw my sister and him run.  I was chocking on my own blood and my mom, she picked me up, trying to hold me," he said.

"All I could do was hold him and tell him I love him," Kathleen said choking up.

"Was there bad blood between you two, prior to what lead up to that?" asked Javier Soto, 3TV Anchor.

"It wasn't bad blood," Justin answered, shaking his head no.  "I would just tell him, like hey man that's my baby sister.  Stop."

"What did the doctors tell you is the prognosis?" asked Soto.

"He has severe brain damage.  He's not able to work at all," said Kathleen.  

"He lost his left eye sight completely.  He had two strokes and his long-term memory is good but his short term, not so good," she said.

"Like I'll forget to turn the water back off.  I flooded the house a couple of times.  It's like the little things I forget," said Justine.

"My son has the mentality of a 14-year-old and that's not ever going to change, "Kathleen added.  "So, he went from an almost 30-year-old grown man that worked full time to not being able to do that anymore.  The bullet is still at the back of his neck-it's not going to be removed because it would cause him to be paralyzed to remove it, so we're not going to do that."

According to Justin, the lodged bullet causes pain when he eats.  

"I do ask God.  Like I talk to God.  'What did I do so bad to get this?'  Be like this.  Every day it's another challenge for me.  I try.  I try.  I try.  But I know if I give up I can't get better.  I can't give up.  It's hard," he said.

Justin's mom Kathleen wrote to Arizona's Family Surprise Squad about his tough situation.  The mother and son told their story to bring awareness to the incident so that the suspect would be caught, and their estranged family member would return home.

"You contacted us because you needed some help," Soto said.  

"Apparently you are sleeping on the couch.  So, we teamed up with our great friends from American Furniture Warehouse to help you out," he said.

"Thank you so much, guys.  Don't mind me if I shed a tear," said Kathleen.

"We are so happy to partner with Arizona's Family Surprise Squad to purchase an adjustable bed for Justin," said Lauren Lucas, American Furniture Warehouse Special Event Coordinator

Lucas handed Kathleen and Justin pillows and bedding, as workers brought in a brand new a bed.

Soto surprised the mother and son with an additional $2,000 to help them with expenses.

The mother and son were overwhelmed by the unexpected generosity.  

"Thank you.  God bless you guys.  Thank you so much" said Kathleen.  

"Some people might think a bed is something that's not important, but it meant the whole world to us," she said.

"I wake up in pain every morning and I'm blessed to have this," said Justin.

While the suspect remains on the run, the family had one last message to give to Justin's sister.

"We love you and we miss you.  Mama just wants you to come home', said Kathleen.

"I'm not mad at you," Justin added.  "Just come home."

Thank you to American Furniture Warehouse for contributing to this surprise.

Arizona's Family Surprise Squad is powered by your Valley Toyota Dealers.

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The Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad powered by Valley Toyota Dealers makes their way around town helping make the day a little brighter for some lucky 3TV viewers. You never know where the Squad may show up or what they'll be doing when they get there.

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