Raul Mendez simply wanted to enjoy a relaxing Fourth of July celebration with his friends and family in Surprise, Arizona, but shooter on a rampage turned the celebration into a nightmare.
If it hadn’t been for the fact that Mendez had a concealed carry firearm, he is certain that more lives would have been lost. As he and his family and friends were celebrating, a neighbor allegedly entered the home uninvited on July 3– suddenly opening fire as everyone was gathering to enjoy a meal.
“My back was turned. I heard the first gunshot and that’s what made me, kind of turn my head … But by the time I even was able to look and see what was going on, a bullet already had struck the side of my face,” Mendez told Fox News Digital via a phone interview on Tuesday.
There were about 30 people present, but no one had done anything that should have caused the neighbor to reportedly randomly open fire.
The armed neighbor allegedly killed two of Mendez’s friends, Conrradito Ochoa Navarro, 41, and Carl Dinora, 38, and left four other people seriously injured, including Mendez.
The suspected gunman was later identified by police as Jason Hunt.
Mendez’s wife raced over to her husband and, at the time, was sure he was dead because of how much blood was on his face. Then she whisked their two daughters away to a different room in the house.
“She barricaded the door with the dresser. There were three other children in there, not including my two daughters. A total of five kids. She … throws them in the closet, throws clothes over them. Tells them, ‘Be quiet. Do not make a peep if you hear loud noises in this room,'” Mendez said.
Meanwhile, as the alleged shooter continued to move through the party, Mendez was roused by guests screaming his name who knew he had a concealed carry. He found the presence of mind to get up in spite of his injury.
“By the glory of God or the adrenaline and just everything, just the will to live and the will to protect my family, I was able to hear those pleas, those yells for help. I heard my name. And I was able to get up,” Mendez said.
Mendez shot Hunt in the chest four times. It was later determined that Mendez acted in self-defense.
Mendez suffered the loss of his left eye, a fractured jaw, a torn eardrum and no longer has a sense of smell. His hospital stay lasted for a week, and there are several surgeries he must endure in the future.
Mendez released a video in response to the underreporting of his story, declaring in the video that his gun “is the only reason we’re alive.”
He offered details about the horrible event, highlighting how common it is for mainstream media to avoid stories about “defensive firearm use,” while placing an emphasis on stories with the keywords, “murder, gunfire or shot.”
Mendez confides in the video that, “We still have no idea why that man opened fire that day, but it has only reinforced our family’s support for the Second Amendment.”
He has made a point of buying handguns for his family and also paid for their proper training on how to use them.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.