The family of a 14-year-old boy who was blinded after being struck by a bullet said they forgive the shooter but want him brought to justice. Police are still searching for the person responsible.
Dolores Gonzalez and her son Andy were traveling along State Route 509 in south King County last December when someone fired at their vehicle. The bullet struck Andy and damaged both of his eyes, passing just a centimeter from his brain.
"It was a nightmare. I have lost one part of my body, and that's my eyesight," Andy said.
"It's difficult, because he knows what it was to see, and now he can’t see,” Dolores said. “It's different for him."
The family had just moved to Seattle from Chicago a few months before the shooting.
“We came here for a better future, something different. We didn't come here for this,” said Dolores.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab determined the same weapon that blinded Andy was used in a drive-by shooting in Des Moines just two days earlier. Police said they received tips since, and released a sketch earlier this week of the suspect, who may have been driving a red or maroon SUV in the vicinity of the shootings. However, they have no credible leads so far.
While the two shootings are conclusively linked to the same weapon, a statement from the Crime Lab said, "Preliminary indications are that additional shootings may be linked to this individual firearm."
"You made a family suffer. You made me suffer. You made my friends suffer. You made everybody suffer,” Andy said.
Andy is glad to have survived the shooting and is going to keep fighting for his eyesight to return.
"I may have lost my eyesight, but I can still do other things,” Andy said. “And my eyesight will return.”
A Washington State Patrol task force is investigating a total of 11 unsolved shootings that occurred from June to January in south King County.
Authorities have asked the public to come forward with any information about the shootings, sketch, or someone with access to a red or maroon SUV.
Call 425-401-7880 or email SR509shootingtip@wsp.wa.gov with any information.