DALLAS - A 13-year-old boy shot while playing in an Old East Dallas park is fighting to recover from his injuries in the hospital.
The shooting happened Thursday night at the Old East Dallas Work Yard Park just after 8 p.m. Witnesses say a group started fighting on the basketball court when someone took out a gun and started firing. A 13-year old innocent bystander was trying to get away when he was shot in the back.
Family members identified the victim as 13-year-old Nathaniel Aguirre. They say he was moved out of ICU and is still in a lot of pain but is improving.
When the boy was shot in the back, the bullet pierced his lung and lodged in his arm. His family says the doctors are choosing not to remove it for now for his safety.
Cell phone video shot by a witness shows the moments leading up to the gunshots that put Nathaniel in the hospital. The video ends after the first shot.
Friends who didn't want to be shown on camera say the 13-year old comes to the park a few times a week to play basketball and was there Thursday night when things went wrong. He collapsed at a nearby home after he was shot in the back while trying to run away.
Dallas police believe the shooting may have been gang-related. Nathaniel’s friends say he didn't belong in a gang and wasn't involved in the fight that started the shooting.
Dallas police were back at the park Friday afternoon to question neighborhood teens about the shooting and trying to get more information on who was there.
Steve Weber lives nearby the park and says he's not surprised police believe the shooting was gang-related, but he's stunned a 13-year old was the victim of gun violence.
“Horrified because that could happen to any kid, really — or adult. But it's really bad with a child,” he said. “I hope this wasn't just random. I don't know why somebody would shoot at a 13-year-old kid just for fun.”
The 13-year old boy's family did not want to talk on camera but sent a statement saying, “We are grateful for the quick response of The Dallas Police Department to transport Nathan to the hospital that possibly saved his life. Our gratefulness to Baylor hospital and their staff to stabilize Nathan and the outpouring of support and prayers from the community."
Dallas police have not released a description of the shooter or shooters.