Justin Bates was grazed by bullets repeatedly, but it didn’t stop him from saving a friend during Sunday’s shooting in Gilroy, California.
Bates told CNN affiliate KPIX that he was with family and friends near his family’s snow cone stall at the city’s annual Garlic Festival.
He saw a man, whom police have identified as 19-year-old Santino Legan, open fire on attendees — just feet away from him and his friends Nick McFarland and Sarah Ordaz.
They all started running.
“I just remember bullets flying past me as I was running. I remember feeling the heat hit my legs after I got up,” he told KPIX. “At that point, I was pretty sure I was hit, and I knew I had to get them the hell out of there.”
Luckily, they were just graze wounds, including one on his chest. McFarland was hit by bullet fragments in his calf.
When Ordaz saw McFarland’s wound, she was overcome by shock and froze.
Despite his own wounds, Bates turned back and ran in the direction of the shooter to save his friend. He grabbed Ordaz and carried her to safety.
The trio says they made it to a hospital where McFarland and Bates were treated for their injuries.
“It’s nothing you’d ever want to see ever in your life,” McFarland told KPIX. “And the fact that we’ve got … my whole family’s here today and we’re all talking and living … is just absolutely God-given. … It’s a blessing.”