SURPRISE, AZ – Despite first suffering a devastating gunshot wound to his head, an Arizona man hosting a Fourth of July party earlier this summer managed to recover enough to draw his concealed carry firearm and take out the shooter – his neighbor, who opened fire without provocation – saving countless lives among his family and friends who were in attendance.
Lifelong NRA member Raul Mendez was holding the party at his residence on July 3, along with his pregnant wife, two daughters, and about 30 relatives and acquaintances; amid the celebration of America’s birthday, Mendez’s neighbor – Jason Hunt, 46 – came over and joined in, mixing with the attendees and seemingly enjoying the food and fireworks.
However, things shockingly went sideways all of a sudden when Hunt – for seemingly no reason at all – suddenly snapped, drew a gun, and began shooting people; Mendez, upon hearing the first gunshot, turned to see what was happening when he was struck.
“My back was turned. I heard the first gunshot and that’s what made me, kind of turn my head,” he said. “But by the time I even was able to look and see what was going on, a bullet already had struck the side of my face.”
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Amid Hunt’s rampage, two friends of Mendez lost their lives – Conrradito Ochoa Navarro, 41, and Carl Dinora, 38 – and four others, including Mendez himself, were seriously wounded.
Mendez’s wife checked on him as attendees scattered and, believing him dead due to his grievous head wound, quickly gathered their children – and along with several others, barricaded themselves in another room.
As some party guests screamed for help and others attempted to fight Hunt, Mendez’s head cleared enough, and through sheer force of will he managed to draw his concealed firearm and fatally shot his deranged assailant four times in the chest.
“By the glory of God or the adrenaline and just everything, just the will to live and the will to protect my family, I was able to hear those pleas, those yells for help,” he said. “I heard my name. And I was able to get up,” he said.
Mendez faces a long road to recovery; he spent a week in the hospital and faces several surgical procedures in the future. He lost his left eye, fractured his jaw, tore an eardrum, and lost his sense of smell, but despite that, he just feels lucky to be alive.
Crediting his support of the Second Amendment and the fact that he is a legal gun owner with saving his and his family’s lives, Mendez would later record a video for the NRA where he spoke on the shooting while decrying the lack of media coverage his story received.
“If I didn’t have my gun with me, everyone in the house would have died. The news vans would’ve been front and center. But because I did, you never even heard about it,” he said. “This world is unpredictable. And honestly, at the end of the day, the people that want to ban guns, they’re only banning it from good people, not criminals. Because again, there is no gun laws for criminals.”
Police have not determined a motive for Hunt’s attack.