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Exclusive interview with 12-year-old New Haven boy shot in Puerto Rico

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– It started as a picture perfect trip.  All the cousins went with their grandparents to Puerto Rico

New Haven’s 12-year-old Jayden Ortiz even got to a ride horse. Something he dreamed of doing.      

Then, they stopped for gas.

“The guy pulled up to the front of the gas station and he just started shooting everywhere at everybody, and it hit me,” said Jayden.

Related: 12-year-old boy shot in Puerto Rico paralyzed, but improving

The phone rang in New Haven.

“I was like ‘what’s going on?’ and they were like, ‘Jayden got shot’ and I’m like ‘what you mean Jayden got shot?'” said his father, Carlos.

He said, “To me this is still a big nightmare.”

Now, Jayden is paralyzed from the waist down and depends on a wheelchair to get around.

“I’m doing way better that at first. Like I couldn’t make a fist. I couldn’t move at all,” said Jayden.

He’s had months of physical therapy at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain and gets more confident on his wheels everyday.

“We haven fun races. We try to make the best of this while we’re here,” said Jayden.

Related: 12-year-old New Haven boy suffers gunshot wound to the chest in Puerto Rico

Jayden is a fighter. He’s overcome a lot.  Finally he got some good news too.  He is healthy enough to leave his hospital in New Britain and come home to New Haven before Christmas.

The only thing stopping him though is the stairs at his home.

“I want to get home, I don’t like being in this hospital,” said Jayden.

Carlos said, “I’m just trying to get him home before the holidays basically.”

They still need to make the house handicap accessible and face mounting medical bills.

Carlos said, “It’s been stressful.”

Jayden said, “Thanks for the support. It’s been very helpful, people who donated to the GoFundMe and all their prayers.”

So while they try and figure out the house, police in Puerto Rico are still trying to track down the gunman.

Officers told his grandmother that the shooter was targeting another man who died when Jayden got struck.

Now he just wants to get home, go back to his school and hang out with his dog.

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