After Northern CA shooting rampage, 6-year-old afraid to return to school

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Alejandro Hernandez, 6, displays the bullet wound he sustained in a shooting at Rancho Tehama Elementary School. (KABC)

Monday was the first day students returned to school at Rancho Tehama Elementary School since a shooting rampage there two weeks ago.

But one student says he has no intentions of ever returning to the Northern California school.

Kevin Janson Neal, 43, went on a shooting rampage on Nov. 13 and 14 in Tehama County, killing his wife and neighbors, then crashing through the elementary school and firing repeatedly at students and staff on campus. He fled, shot other people and was eventually killed by sheriff's deputies.

Six-year-old Alejandro Hernandez was shot twice at the school and survived.

One bullet hit him in his right lung - and remains lodged in his chest to this day. The other struck his foot.

"They say that he was really lucky because if it would've been in this side, it would've hit his heart," said his mother, Angelica Monroy.

Which is why the doctor says it's remarkable he's in little pain and at home less than two weeks after being shot.

So soon, they haven't even decided what to do with the unwanted memento that remains lodged in his chest.

"He asked me, Mom, what about the bullet that I have here? Are they going to take it out? ... He gets scared."

As Rancho Tehama Elementary students made their way back to school Monday, Alejandro sat in the safety of his home, saying he won't be returning.

When asked if he is going back to school, he shakes his head. Never? He shakes it again.

"If he doesn't feel OK to go, I'm not going to push him to go," his mother said.

And he's not the only one who's traumatized from the rampage. Monroy says their entire family of 11 won't be living in the small town much longer.

"It's hard for me to see everything, the school," she said.

Just steps away from their home is the crash site where Neal killed a neighbor.

And there's too many places to remind the family of the day little Alejandro was almost taken too.

"I felt the worse, like maybe, if he would've been dead in there? Imagine that. No I don't want to go there."

Much too focused on his video game to be bothered, a shy Alejandro seemed happy.

His mom says he is but he also doesn't want to leave home or even eat. She's dealing with the roller coaster of emotions that come with trying to forgive the man responsible for her son's trauma.

"I wanted him, I said I hope they get him, I hope they get him and I hope he's dead, you know? But then the moment when I heard that he was dead, I just said I forgive him because God's gonna really judge him, you know?"

Related Topics:
school shootingschool safetyNorthern California
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