By Jamie Leary
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The innocent bystander critically injured in Monday’s fatal police shooting in Colorado Springs is in the hospital awaiting surgery.
According to his family, there are fears that Thomas Villanueva, 28, may never walk again.
His sister, Sarah Velasquez, says he currently has no feeling below his waist, but she is determined to get him the best therapy possible.
Still too emotional to speak on camera, Velasquez sent a statement to CBS4:
“We are honestly in straight shock , and it’s definitely been emotional for us especially for my brother. It’s sad that these days we can’t even walk out with comfort of our own home. My brother is very strong and regardless he knows God is on his side. We are all deeply sad that someone who doesn’t deserve this has to go through this. Thomas always holds out his hand to everyone in need. We are extremely grateful that he is alive and all we are asking for right now is if everyone can pray for him because we have a long road ahead of us.”
A GoFundMe page created by Villanueva’s close friend describes the moments leading up to the shooting:
“Thomas C Villanueva was crossing the parking lot of the Murray Hills Apartments on Tues, February 6th. He picked up carne asada fries, and was hurrying home to his apartment to eat before his four thirty shift began when he stumbled onto the path that changed his life. He passed a group of people he did not recognize, and saw them start to fight with a resident of the apartments over a gun. He heard shots fired and ran, only to be brought to the ground seconds later.”
The statement goes on to talk about the injuries he sustained: a bullet entered Villanueva’s left shoulder, passed through his spinal cord and exited through his left lung.
His sister says he will have his first major surgery on Thursday. Her hope is to get him into Craig Hospital for his long-term needs.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015 and currently works as a reporter for CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. She couldn’t imagine a better place to live and work and will stop at nothing to find the next great story. Jamie loves learning about and hearing from her fellow community members, so connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.