Brothers with special needs shot in case of mistaken identity, police say

Brothers with special needs shot in case of mistaken identity, police say
The family says it’s by the grace of God that the 17-year-old and 7-year-old, both of whom have special needs, survived. The younger was grazed by a bullet, while the older was struck but is expected to be fine. (Source: KFSN/CNN)

FRESNO, CA (KFSN/CNN) - Two boys with special needs are recovering after what is believed to be a gang-related shooting at a California house that police say had no affiliation with any gangs.

The startling sounds of gunfire shook a Fresno, CA, neighborhood to its core late Friday night, according to police.

Shot spotter technology alerted officers to 15 rounds fired at a home that had at least two children, a 17-year-old and his 7-year-old brother, inside at the time.

The family says it’s by the grace of God that the boys, both of whom have special needs, survived.

The 7-year-old was simply grazed by a bullet. He was treated and released from the hospital.

Doctors couldn’t remove a bullet that went through the 17-year-old’s back, but even so, the teenager is expected to be OK.

"[It] should’ve shattered his bone… and they say, ‘We don't know how, but it moved slightly and lodged where it needed to be.’ So, he’s going to be fully functional and fine," said crisis intervention worker Armando Alvarez.

Once he learned of the shooting, Alvarez, who works with a non-profit organization that does street ministry and outreach in the community, visited the family in order to make sure they know they’re not alone.

"A 7-year-old and a 17-year-old could’ve lost their lives last night. It could’ve been your kids; it could’ve been my kids,” Alvarez said. "The community needs to come together, stand up and pour their hearts into the communities where they’re living.”

Police believe gangs were involved in the shooting. However, they say the family living in the house has no gang affiliation, and they believe this was a case of mistaken identity.

"It's an everyday family living there. They just purchased the house in May, living the American dream,” Police Lt. Carl McKnight said. "It shows you the heartlessness and lack of caring of gang members."

The suspects remain on the run.

Police are working several leads while also asking the public to come forward with any information. There is a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

"Their sense of safety and comfort in their home is probably shocked right now. We will do what we can to catch these individuals and make it a safer neighborhood,” McKnight said.

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