Victims of a mass shooting

On July 03, 2022, my family and I were forever changed after being victims of a mass shooting.
While celebrating in the company of family and friends on the night before the 4th of July in Surprise, AZ, a neighbor entered our friend's home uninvited.  The owner, and host, was surprised by the sudden intrusion, but being a friendly neighbor, he offered drink, food, and hospitality in the spirit of our Nation’s Independence Day celebration.  Without warning or provocation, the neighbor stood up, pulled out a semi-automatic handgun, and started shooting us while we were at the table enjoying our meal.  There were children, women, and men present.
The first victim was our dear friend Carl.  The perpetrator shot him in the neck, killing him instantly.  The second victim was my loving husband and father of two beautiful girls, and a third baby girl on the way.  The shooter quickly took aim and shot him in the head from a short distance.  I was next to the shooter and with nauseating shock and disbelief, I saw my husband drop to his knees with blood gushing out of his head and onto his neck and shoulder.  Dazed, I lunged towards my husband screaming and crying.  I desperately told him to get up, willing him to move and be alive.  He was immobile and because of the incredible amount of blood-loss, I thought the worst and believed he was dead.  A second and urgent thought came to mind that gave me new strength and purpose – I immediately ran to my two beautiful girls that had started to run towards a bedroom to escape the continued gunshots.  I had to protect my two girls and my unborn child.  Out of sheer terror and desperation, I pushed two dressers to bar the door and hid my daughters and three other children in the closet.  Their panicked cries were tearing at my heart, and I told them to stay down and be quiet lest the shooter find us.  They listened to my instructions through the continued mayhem of gunfire and screaming in the house. 
Meanwhile, the gunman promptly proceeded to chase Conrad, another dear friend, while he attempted to reach the front door; the shooter managed to shoot him in the leg, then he walked up to Conrad and executed him with a single shot to the top of his head.  The shooter then proceeded to the main bedroom where he attempted to kill my bestfriend.  He shot her four times in the arm and once in the leg.  After he shot her, she was, incredibly, able to use her functional arm and leg, and the remaining strength she had, to wrestle with the gunman.  Thanks to her heroic efforts during her struggle, the gunman continued to fire his weapon to kill her.  Thankfully, she was able to deflect the weapon causing the perpetrator to fire the remaining bullets in the air.  Left with an empty gun, he then began to choke my courageous and bleeding friend to finish her off.  As he was choking her, a second friend bravely grabbed a rifle from the closet, but she was unable to load it, so she did the only thing she could think of: she began to desperately strike the gunman with the rifle.  As she was striking him, she was also yelling for my husband to come to their aid.  She knew my husband always carried a concealed weapon.  What she didn’t know at the time, was that my husband had been shot in the head and was likely dead.
After a short struggle against the two brave women, the shooter broke away from the fight and started to reach for a second weapon he carried to continue his killing frenzy.  By the grace of God Almighty, my husband was still alive.  He had been unconscious and near death after all the bleeding and came to after hearing our friends screaming for help.  Thanks be to God for the strength and willpower he was able to muster to get up and protect his family and loved ones.  Half-conscious, bleeding, and stumbling, my dear husband made his way to the bedroom where he found the gunman.  My husband fired multiple shots at the shooter to prevent him from killing our friends with his second weapon.  That ended the nightmare and the murderer’s horrible rampage.
Unaware of what had happened just feet away, I heard a dreaded banging on the bedroom door where we were hiding.  Thinking all hope was gone and praying for the lives of the children and my unborn daughter, I was told the gunman was down.  Still believing my husband was dead, I walked out of the bedroom with the children behind me.  In complete shock and grateful relief, I saw my amazing husband standing there with his face and body covered in blood, and his once-beautiful eye dislodged from his eye socket.  My daughters and I ran to him with tears of joy and thankfulness that this terrible ordeal was over.
My husband was rushed to the hospital and then airlifted to a trauma center.  For one long, and excruciating day, I had no information concerning his critical status, or if he was even alive.  It was the longest day of my life.  The homicide detectives and hospital were unable to share  details due to the ongoing investigation.  Family and friends waited impatiently for the hospital to call with an update on his status after undergoing emergency surgery and being transferred to the ICU.  Eventually, the hospital informed us that my husband was alive and slowly recovering.  The gunshot destroyed his left eye, damaged the right side of his jaw and remaining eye socket, fractured his nose, and caused ear canal damage.  We still don’t know if his hearing or remaining eye will fully recover, or the extent of the damage to the rest of his face and skull.

We pray to God our hero will one day recover enough to have a normal life.  We give daily thanks to God that he was there to protect his family and that he was carrying his ever-present concealed weapon – he certainly prevented further casualties in the defense of our family and loved ones by stopping the threat.  We also pray for emotional and physical healing for our family and friends that were gravely affected by this terrifying and senseless attack.

Any donation is greatly appreciated.  All donations will help pay for medical bills and will greatly assist my family during this difficult time.  Thank you and may God bless you.

Donations (840)

  • Chad Haines
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous
    • $33 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 3 d
  • Shanelle Caro
    • $5 
    • 3 d
  • Anonymous
    • $10 
    • 4 d

Organizer and beneficiary

Cynthia Mendez
Waddell, AZ
Raul Mendez

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