LOS ANGELES — A soldier who survived a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan continues to fight for his life after he was critically wounded at his Southern California homecoming party.
Police on Monday arrested Ruben Ray Jurado after he turned himself in to authorities in Chino Hills, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. The 19-year-old is suspected of shooting 22-year-old Christopher Sullivan at the party in San Bernardino on Friday night after getting into a fight with the soldier’s brother.
Sullivan remains in critical condition. Sullivan’s relatives say the Purple Heart recipient, which is awarded to those wounded in combat, was hit twice at the party by gunfire, which shattered his spine and left him paralyzed from the neck down.
“He’s still on the breathing machine,” the soldier’s brother Brandon Sullivan told the San Bernardino Sun. “He comes and goes and opens his eyes. If you talk to him, if you say something, he’ll blink his eyes.”
Authorities believe Jurado, who had played football with Sullivan in high school, began arguing with Sullivan’s 16-year-old brother Brandon over football teams and then punched him. Sullivan intervened and Jurado pulled a gun and fired multiple shots, hitting Sullivan in the neck, San Bernardino police Sgt. Gary Robertson said.
Jurado has been transferred to the custody of the San Bernardino Police Department where he was booked on suspicion of attempted murder. The district attorney’s office has until Wednesday to file charges.
Police said Jurado had an attorney but officials couldn’t immediately provide the lawyer’s name. It wasn’t immediately possible to locate a number for Jurado.
Sullivan was wounded in a suicide bombing attack last year in Kandahar province while serving with the 101st Infantry Division. He suffered a cracked collarbone and brain damage in the attack and had been recovering in Kentucky, where he is stationed.
The soldier’s mother, Suzanne Sullivan, told the paper she’s relieved that the man accused of shooting her son turned himself in.
“Now my son’s going to have justice,” she said.