Chapel Hill, N.C. — The father of a 4-year-old Sampson County boy shot during an attempted home invasion last week said Thursday he's thankful his son is alive.
Jose Santiso Vargas' father, a migrant worker from West Palm Beach, Fla., confirmed Thursday that his son was struck in the head by a bullet and had surgery earlier this week.
Jose spent most of last week in intensive care at UNC Hospitals and was in stable condition Thursday morning. His head was wrapped in gauze and bandages, and nurses were doing their best to make sure his frail body stays comfortable at the beginning of what is likely a long recovery.
Investigators say someone tried to force his way into the home off Plantation Lane outside Clinton about 10:30 p.m. Friday. When the man couldn't make entry into a bedroom, he fired into the door and the bullet hit the boy.
Jose's father chased the gunman, who jumped into a waiting vehicle and fled.
Sampson County authorities and Gov. Bev Perdue on Tuesday approved rewards totaling $10,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting.
The shooting happened just days before the family was scheduled to move back to Florida. Now, as they stay by Jose's side in the hospital, it's unclear when they will be able to leave. His parents have been staying at the Ronald McDonald house.
Anyone with information should call the Sampson County Sheriff's Office at 910-592-4141. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling 910-564-5261.