Shooting survivor marks special anniversary

January 22, 2009 5:06:54 PM PST
A Chicago boy who was shot in the head twice and expected to die is now making a remarkable recovery.It was one year ago when David Curiel became an innocent victim of violence. He spent several weeks in intensive care with a swollen brain.

Bullets have scarred David Curiel's forehead and childhood memories.

"He stared at me...and he just pulled a gun on me," David said.

That's what David remembers about January 18, 2007.

Relatives say David, who is now 7, was at his father's Chicago apartment when a family friend, Karl "Twin" Smith, along with a few masked men, busted into the home.

"He taped my Dad up with gray tape," said David.

Authorities say the gunmen demanded money. And David's family says they used David to pressure his father.

"I know they told him, if he didn't open the safe they were going to shoot him," said Annette Jimenez, David's mother.

"He shot me here and right here. Then he shot me right here," David said.

Smith was arrested after the shooting and charged with attempted first degree murder.

David, meantime, underwent two surgeries, first to survive, then to restructure his shattered skull.

The gunman shot David in the back of the head. The bullets exited through his forehead.

"It's a miracle," said Juana Jimenez, David's grandmother. "The doctor who did a surgery on his head, he said, it's a miracle the baby is still alive. I was thinking he was not going to make it. And he's here."

He sure is. Doctors want David to wear a cast, just to make sure his left foot heals correctly. Other than that, he is on the move.

"I play baseball, golf, tennis, soccer," David said.

He is a young survivor, full of energy and feistiness, a year after facing death.

David does have one fear. He is afraid to see Karl Smith in court. Smith is in custody at the Cook County Jail. The other men were never caught.

Smith is facing a long list of charges, including attempted first degree murder, home invasion, aggravated battery and armed robbery. He will be back in court February 11.