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Shop owner credits saint for helping him survive gunshot to the head

August 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A shop owner thanked his friend in the spirit world Wednesday as he returned home from the hospital after being shot in the head by a robber.

Carlos Arana, an owner of a religious and pharmaceutical supply store in Arlington Heights, isn't recognized by the Catholic church. But regular customers of the Botanica Indio de Samayac in the 1300 block of 2nd Street say they believe that San Simon protected him Monday night when thieves came in and robbed and shot him in the head.

After giving up about $4,000, police said Arana was laying face down on a bed when he was shot once in the head at point-blank range.

Police say Arana played dead while the suspects left. Arana called 911 and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was listed in serious but stable condition.

Arana, 35, said his faith in San Simon, the Guatemalan saint who watches over good people and grants them favors in return for his favorite foods and drink, is what kept him safe.

"I felt them him there with me," Arana said in Spanish.

Marlene Aguilar, a regular customer and friend, she believes Arana survived the attack because he is a nice man and believes in San Simon.

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