PHOENIX, Ariz. – A group of teenagers are in police custody and are facing felony charges after allegedly opening fire on a black photographer who asked them not to use a racial slur, according to a report from Fox 10.
The day started simply enough, but ended with a man fighting for his life. Police say that the man, identified only as ‘CT’, was taking pictures in a Phoenix park on September 12 when he was approached by three teenagers.
Police say that he had been live streaming to Facebook for 45 minutes before meeting the men, and kept rolling throughout.
The teens asked CT to take some photos of them. He agreed and can be heard saying that he would not charge them for the pictures.
During the impromptu photoshoot, the boys began throwing around the n-word. CT, who is black, was offended by their use of the term and told the teens to knock it off.
“My man, I told you you can’t say the n-word, you’re not black,” CT said to the boys.
“I say what the f–k I want,” one of the teens fired back.
“No, you cannot, not in front of me,” CT argued.
"I told you you can't say the n-word, you're not black," the man said before teenagers shot him.
The Black photographer happened to be live streaming a video during those terrifying moments in Phoenix.https://t.co/Q8RlHEI8ok
— NewsOne (@newsone) October 1, 2019
Moments later, one of the boys said the word again, prompting CT to reiterate his stance.
“Didn’t I tell you don’t say the n-word? Didn’t I say that?” he said.
Then, without warning, shots rang out. The camera falls to the ground as CT is hit a staggering nine times by gunfire.
“While I was on the ground I was just praying and asking God not now. I was just saying not now, not, not now,” CT told Fox 10 in an interview.
The three suspects fled the area, reportedly not taking the time to grab CT’s cameras and erase the photos of their faces.
Incredibly, even after being shot nearly a dozen times, the photographer managed to get his phone and dial 911. Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes and managed to provide lifesaving medical attention to the man.
CT survived his frightening encounter and according to reports, he still has a bullet lodged in his shoulder. He considers himself incredibly lucky to have made it.
“It’s a complete miracle. It’ a blessing cause a lot of people have been shot only one time and they didn’t even survive,” he said.
It didn’t take police long to review the footage and track down their suspects. Two 18-year-olds, Ricardo Mendoza-Sanchez and Angel Oretega Romero were arrested shortly after the shooting along with a third boy who remains unidentified as he is 17-years-old.
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Investigators say that when they went to arrest Romero, he attempted to pull a gun on the arresting officers, but police managed to wrestle it away from him before he could pull the trigger.
In search warrants executed on the suspects’ homes, investigators turned up a ballistic vest, four handguns and methamphetamine.
But after all is said and done, CT is engaged that his attempted killers aren’t facing more serious charges.
The teens now face charges of aggravated assault, misconduct involving weapons, resisting arrest and gang activity, but there has not been any mention of attempted murder.
“It was two people that shot me and they shot me nine times,” CT said, “So how can you call that aggravated assault, like what was aggravated? Like they tried to kill me?”
A GoFundMe with a goal of $50,000 was started to help the photographer, who will likely be out of work for the next several months.
He plans to return to his passion of photography once he makes a full recovery.
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