Family staying strong as school shooting victim recovers - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Family determined to stay strong as school shooting victim recovers

Pictured: Amanda Vargas (left), Rosalinda Tavarez (right) Pictured: Amanda Vargas (left), Rosalinda Tavarez (right)

The nation was stunned when a school shooting in Roswell, NM, landed two young victims in the hospital just two weeks into the New Year.

Authorities say Nathaniel Tavarez, 12, was shot in the face and neck by a 12-year-old gunman.

Kendal Sanders, 13, was also shot. They both remain hospitalized on Saturday.

Now, for the first time, Nathaniel's family shares their frightening experience.

"We couldn't get here fast enough," said Nathaniel's cousin, Amanda Vargas. "It just was unreal, very unreal."

It's hard for Vargas and Tavarez to find the right words to explain what they are going through.

"You can't think. You just run in circles," said aunt Rosalinda Tavarez.

Nathaniel has been fighting for his life and they're fighting to stay strong for him.

However, they say the outpouring of support from other family members, friends and even strangers has made this tough time a bit easier.

"People had called and texted a lot," Vargas said, "asking what they could do. We just kind of threw out there - maybe water, snacks and stuff for the family since they're so much here - and especially for Nathaniel's mom and dad."

There are too many individual donors to list, but the family wants each of them to know they are incredibly thankful for the support.

"We're grateful that he's alive," Tavarez said, "and that's all that we're going to concentrate on, that he's alive."

Nathaniel's family says he is doing much better. He still has not opened his eyes, but he has shown signs of improvement.

His brother and sister were holding his hand on Saturday morning, and as they were leaving, Nathaniel squeezed their hands - something the family says is a miracle in itself.

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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