HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A bittersweet update on the U.S. Army soldier who was shot during a road rage incident on Sunday as his loved ones have now been told that he will likely never walk again. Army Private First Class Luis Diaz was shot behind the left ear just hours after arriving home in Houston from Germany on a two-week leave.
”If I could give my life, I would give that for him,” says Diaz’ aunt Martha Deleon. Relatives of 22-year-old PFC Diaz are heartbroken after the soldier survived years in the military only to be the victim of violence in his hometown.
“It's devastating," adds Deleon. "I could understand it in a better sense had it happened where he has been, but here where he's supposed to be protected?”
Someone opened fire on the Dodge that Diaz was driving on Sunday night near West Orem Drive on South Post Oak Road, shooting him in the head in what's believed to be a case of road rage. His passenger wasn't injured. Diaz's aunt rushed to the shooting scene arriving before her nephew was taken from the driver's seat.
“I could see him in the seat, laid back," says Deleon. "They wouldn't allow me to get close.” She added that before paramedics arrived, a woman who happened by first found Diaz unresponsive and that woman saved the 22-year-old soldier's life by administering CPR to him.
Loved ones of Diaz gathered and prayed at the hospital before a doctor gave them grim news.
“He said, 'It doesn't look like your son is going to make it,' and boy it was just a dampening and we just prayed,” explains the family’s pastor Albert Salazar from Master's Plan World Outreach Church. Then suddenly, the group received an update. It appeared Diaz would survive, however, the young Army private is expected to be paralyzed from the neck down.
“Yes, he probably will be a quadriplegic," says Pastor Salazar, who has known Diaz since he joined the church at at the age of 10. "We had just gotten devastating news and then suddenly we get good news that Luis is going to survive. I believe it was because of prayer. In the hospital, Luigi did open his eyes and he did attempt to speak to some family members.”
“Luis grew up here in the church," adds Salazar. "In fact, he came before his parents came and he is a model young man. He was our audio guy. He played bass. He helped with the children’s ministry. He was like a role model to the kids. We actually never call him Luis. We lovingly call him Luigi.”
Pastor Salazar remembers when Diaz joined the U.S. Army because the young man thought it was a stepping stone to become a Houston Police Department SWAT team officer. It’s a dream he now may never achieve because of someone that his family members call heartless, monstrous and evil.
”I'm trying not to become bitter and feel hate towards the person who did this,” says Deleon. The person who shot Diaz has not been found.
A prayer vigil for Diaz is scheduled to take place at Master's Plan World Outreach on 11400 South Sam Houston Parkway West on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at 7 p.m.
“We believe good wins over bad,” says Pastor Salazar.
”For me prayer has power," adds Deleon. "I know God, in the midst of this torment, midst of this pain, He can do something marvelous. Because we believe in a God of miracles.”
Diaz was not even supposed to be in Houston on Sunday. He was actually scheduled to arrive in El Paso on Thursday for his cousin's wedding which was scheduled for Friday, but Diaz came home to Houston on Sunday to surprise his family.