San Antonio boy, 4, walks again after being shot in spinal cord during drive-by shooting

Romeo Aguilar still has intensive therapy to undergo but he’s back home playing with his brothers once again

4-year-old San Antonio boy shot in drive-by comes home from hospital

SAN ANTONIO – A 4-year-old boy who doctors said would never walk again after being shot in the back during a drive-by shooting is now walking again.

Romeo Aguilar has been at University Hospital since Oct. 24, when a bullet pierced his spinal cord. He was visiting his grandfather on Woodville Drive.

After going through multiple surgeries, Romeo was expected to be discharged from the hospital on Dec. 3, but he was sent home Tuesday because of his fast recovery.

Rosella Aguilar, the boy’s mother, has been in the hospital with Romeo for 24 days, and even though the family is exhausted, she said everyone is ready to get back to a normal life now.

“We got home, thank you, Jesus,” said Aguilar. “When we walked out of the hospital, we couldn’t wait for those doors to close behind us.”

She said Romeo has been determined to walk, and after pushing himself, he started walking faster than expected.

“When he started walking, I was like, ‘I know God is hearing all of these prayers going up,’” she said. “I know God is answering every single prayer we all have. I am overwhelmed, joyful and very grateful. It is just amazing to see your child -- when they said he will never walk again, and as you can see, he is clearly doing the impossible. The doctors were like, ‘What!’”

Romeo hasn’t skipped a beat as far as being the energetic, happy child he is.

“He was like, ‘I want to go to school and run with my friends,’” Aguilar said. “He knows he can do that one day now, which is why he is so determined. I am so proud of him.”

Even though Aguilar is overwhelmed with joy, she said she couldn’t help but think about how her son ended up in this situation.

“It is always going to be in the back of your head, but you try not to think about it because so much progress has been made, and I am blessed that my son is still here,” Aguilar said. “I am joyful, but all in all, it makes me angry inside. As a mom, looking at Romeo’s progress, it is amazing, but I am still very angry inside. I want answers. I need answers. We need justice for my son. How could somebody be so cruel to do something like this to an innocent baby or for anybody? Anybody on the street could have got that bullet. I just wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

Aguilar said her heart goes out to other families dealing with tragedies caused by gun violence.

“Families who are experiencing this, I see how you feel,” she said. “You always see it, but you never think that it would happen to your family. Now that my family has been affected, I understand that pain. People need to put these guns down because they are not the way. Gun violence is killing our babies.”

Aguilar said she is beyond thankful for the San Antonio Police Department.

“I can’t even say thank you because it is more than, ‘I thank you.’ They could have brushed off this case, but they didn’t,” she said. “The fact that they are so determined to seek justice for my son is a blessing. I never pictured us in this situation, but a lot of organizations have reached out to me too because of the police department, and I am so thankful for them. This has been a tragedy, but it has also been a blessing.”

Aguilar said her son’s determination to be a normal kid again is inspiring to her.

“He is my superhero for real,” she said as she became emotional. “Anytime someone thinks he can’t do something, he does quite the opposite. He doesn’t give up because he’s never seen me give up. My kids have seen me at my worst, but he has never seen me give up. He is not giving up, and that means a lot to me.”

Aguilar said they have a strong support system.

“Even the twins have stepped up and tried to help, wanting to push Romeo around in his wheelchair,” Aguilar said. “They bicker still, but what kid doesn’t. This has all brought us together as a tighter unit.”

Romeo still has intensive therapy to go through before he can go back to school.

While police are still searching for the suspects, Aguilar wants the community to know that she is thankful for their prayers.

“We were at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “Some people say there is a dark cloud over us, but evidently, there isn’t a dark cloud on us because God is making wonders with my son.”

On Saturday, between noon and 2:00 p.m., the community is having a prayer barbecue for Romeo at the Camanche Park at 2600 Rigsby Avenue

About the Authors:

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.