Boy finally home after being shot in heart during drive-by

Elijah Belmares is now planning a Naruto-themed party for his upcoming 9th birthday

Child recovers after drive-by shooting
Child recovers after drive-by shooting

San Antonio – After spending over a month in the hospital because of a bullet wound to his heart, an 8-year-old boy is finally home. Elijah Belmares was shot during a drive-by, February 25, while helping his uncle with groceries.

When Elijah woke up from his 12-day coma after the shooting, his memory was limited.

“I was shot, but I don’t remember that,” Elijah said. “All I remember is my uncle saying he saw blood on my back. At least I was able to run inside though.”

Maria Garza, his grandmother, was by his side every day in the hospital.

“From that devastating phone call in February, it was constant prayers, heartbreaks, worries, and scares. When he finally woke up, there was sigh of relief. Day 14, they were getting him up to walk. He was wondering what to eat and he had to learn how to move and work his body again.”

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Garza said this experience took a toll on her, but she couldn’t give up on him.

“The more I saw him fight daily and when he opened his eyes, I realized the more I got to keep fighting no matter how devastating and broken I felt,” Garza said. “Every time I saw him laying there with all of this stuff in him, it wasn’t fair. Going through all of this. This pain, this hurt; seeing him sad. Crying every day because he couldn’t go out and play. Without the support and comfort of family, it would have been very hard.”

Elijah said he looks forward to jumping on the trampoline when he is moving around better. He said he is also excited about having his birthday party on April 17th.

“I want a Naruto-themed party,” Elijah said.

Garza said the shooting has also impacted young Elijah, even though he doesn’t remember much.

“At one point he didn’t know what happened,” Garza said. “I would ask him if he knew why he was here and he would say he didn’t know. Sometimes, he would have flashes of what did happen and he would say this happen or that ‘I ran and my back started burning.’ Sometimes, he would burst into tears and I would ask ‘Why are you crying?' He would say, ‘I don’t know.’

The suspects in this case have yet to be found but Garza said they will not let this tragedy stop Elijah from being a normal kid again.

“He fought a good fight and will continue to fight and so, no matter what their intentions were, God didn’t let it happen.”

Elijah still has a long recovery to go and Garza said it is unknown when he will make a full recovery.

“The trauma team will continue to follow him,” Garza said. “We will see how he heals here at home. We will see if he is happier here. We will get him eating normally and more. We are just working to get him adapted to his normal life again. Before we left the hospital today, he and his grandpa went around to thank all of his nurses and doctors that helped him through this fight. We are very thankful. We are very happy to have more time with him. He is a miracle.”

8-year-old boy shot in drive-by opens his eyes, waves at camera

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray is a reporter with KSAT12 News.