Stray bullet hits teen in head on New Year's Eve

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 21:50:19-05

A local teen is facing an uncertain future after surgeons cut out a stray bullet from his brain.

"This is killing me. He is everything to me," said Alma Vazquez, Miguel Castro's mother.

Castro, an 18-year-old in his first year of college at Grossmont College, remains in a medically induced coma at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest.

As the New Year was arriving, the teen was at his grandmother's home in Tijuana. His family was sitting down for a late dinner when a loud noise shook the room.

"He was near his aunt and uncle when he fell over. A bullet hit him on the left side of his head," said Vazquez.

The .45-caliber bullet that hit him tore through three walls. Mexican police told Vazquez it was a stray bullet from someone firing random shots outside, celebrating the New Year.

Castro's family rushed him to a public hospital in Tijuana, but no surgeons were available.

After some red tape and 13 hours in Tijuana, Castro was finally transferred to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where surgeons removed the bullet.

Castro is expected to survive, but the damage to his brain is not known.

"He's such an amazing man. He shows so much promise," said Mallory Thorne, who works with Castro at the nonprofit Outdoor Outreach, where he mentors underserved youth.

"He has so much ahead of him … This is just a senseless tragedy," Thorne added.

"I'm angry because someone was reckless. This is not a game. I just want my son to be OK," said Vazquez.

Castro had been working two jobs and helping his family after his father passed away from cancer last year.

Vazquez said there has been some movement in Castro's right arm and leg, which is a good sign.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with medical bills.

Vazquez said the police investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.