SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - From tragedy to triumph, a 2010 Point Loma graduate critically wounded by a fugitive on a shooting rampage is making incredible strides on the road to recovery.
Friday night, the friends and family of Will Barton are hosting a taco dinner and silent auction to help cover his medical bills.
It was a crime spree that involved kidnapping, arson, murder and a shootout with police. One of the innocent victims caught in the middle was Will Barton of Point Loma, a 20-year-old art student at San Diego City College who was leaving work on the night of October 29.
Police say 40-year-old Philip Martin Hernandez randomly shot the Point Loma High School grad several times, leaving him critically wounded.
"Honestly it's pretty surreal the whole thing is pretty sad we all thought he was going to die to be honest with you," said one of Barton's friends, Corey Husted.
The shooting damaged Will's vocal chords, making it hard for him to communicate. But within days, Will began to show signs of improvement, which inspired his parents.
"They show up every single day and he's doing something different," continued Husted.
And now his community is putting on a taco dinner fundraiser and auction to help Will along his long road to recovery
Husted says it's the least they can do for a friend that's taught them to cherish friendships.