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Las Vegas native in critical condition after Fort Hood shooting spree

Jacqui Heinrich

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Las Vegas native in critical condition after Fort Hood shooting spree

By Jacqui Heinrich. CREATED Apr 5, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Action News has learned one of the soldiers injured in the killing spree at Fort Hood last Wednesday is from Las Vegas. 

Private Deon Josephs, 31, graduated from Western High School before joining the military. He wanted to fight in Iraq, but now his doctors are just hoping for a chance he can walk again.

Josephs was shot in the shoulder but the bullet traveled through his body and injured his cervical spine. He's currently in critical condition at a Texas hospital.

Josephs had dreamed of being a soldier since he was a boy; that dream came true when he graduated boot camp and began active duty at Fort Hood in November.

"I wasn't scared because he really wanted to do it, he really wanted to fight for our country," Deidre Josephs, Deon's sister, told Action News.

Now Josephs is fighting for his life, the bullet still in his neck after fellow soldier Ivan Lopez went on a four-minute killing spree, injuring sixteen and taking three lives. Josephs was sweeping the bay area when Lopez gunned him down, spraying bullets over an area the size of two city blocks, before taking his own life.

Josephs' family said they'll never forget what happened when they found out their brother was injured.

"I received a loud knock at the door. I didn't know who it was, and it was my sister," said Deon's brother, Darren. "Mom called me and said she heard about a shooting where Deon was. She said call him right now and check on him," Deidre added.

Deon Josephs didn't answer. "It was horrible," Deidre said tearfully.

Josephs lays now in a hospital bed in Texas, communicating with family by nodding his head to signal for a letter in order to spell a sentence. He can't speak on a ventilator, and is only able to wiggle his fingers and toes; the bullet struck his cervical spine, and doctors can't remove it until his condition improves.

"When he first arrived at the hospital it was a 50/50 chance," Deidre said.

Josephs' siblings still grapple with why Lopez did it; the two men were in the same unit, and family members say they were friends. However, their questions will have to go unanswered until Josephs can first recover with his Las Vegas family by his side. "All I hope for is that he is able to walk again and that he can stay in the army, because that was his dream," Darren said.

Josephs' doctors say his recovery will be a long one and he will have to learn most of his motor skills all over again.

If you want to help this family, they are conducting a fundraiser. Click here for more information.

Jacqui Heinrich

Jacqui Heinrich

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Jacqui Heinrich is currently a general assignment reporter for Action News.