STOCKTON (CBS13) – It was a crime that had neighbors shocked in a city that is no stranger to crime. Now an ice cream man is amazingly alive and recovering.
“I feel very lucky, because I am alive here. I still have a life, you know,” said Mohammad Rafique.
Lucky may be an under statement. Rafique survived gunshots to the arm and neck.
It was three months ago, almost to the day, when Rafique was in a fight for his life, in and out of consciousness and bleeding out in his ice cream truck.
“They both have guns and they shoot me same time,” said Rafique.
Rafique, just trying to support his family, says two men, identified by police as Ryan Edmond and Jesus Marez, pulled out a gun to rob him.
“I cooperated, I gave them the money, and ice creams and candy, and wallet, everything,” said Rafique.
Then the gunfire; a bullet hit Rafique’s spine, immediately paralyzing the ice cream vendor.
“I never thought I’d move my hands and legs, you know,” said Rafique.
After a month in the hospital, Rafique was moved to Wagner Heights Rehab Facility in Stockton and while he can’t walk yet, he is now able to sit up.
“I feel arms, I can eat. I move my arms and I come here, and they doing a good job,” said Rafique.
Rafique’s therapist is inspired and amazed by his recovery.
“He’s able to feed himself now. He helps get him dressed too,” said Vivian Chua.
Rafique’s family is getting him through the pain and healing.
As for the two accused of nearly taking his life, he doesn’t hold on to the anger but to gratitude. After all, he isn’t just a victim, he’s a survivor.
“I’m very lucky, I’m very happy,” said Rafique.
Rafique will likely be at Wagner Heights for more than a month to come until he’s ready to go home.
Both Marez and Edmond are charged with attempted murder. Police say there could be more arrests.