Artist's family hopeful as he recovers from shooting

Artist's family hopeful as he recovers from shooting

KYTX - The East Texas artist who was robbed and shot while living in Honduras, is still clinging to life.

Doctors pulled him out of his coma Monday morning, and he's still in critical condition in a Honduras hospital.

"We miss him a lot!" Joseph French's niece and nephew say. They hold onto pictures of their uncle as he holds onto life, a world away.

The 27-year-old is a popular artist, known all around Tyler.

"That's his passion. He likes to paint, he likes to build things," says his big brother David Ortega. 

Ortega says what really defines Joseph is his love for people.

"Joseph has a big heart," Ortega says. "He's never met a stranger."

Joseph's whole family is from Honduras. He lived there until he was about 7.  Joseph moved back there a year and a half ago to study his roots, improve his art, and teach children English.

On December 20, Joseph was walking home from a Christmas party with his students. A pair of teenagers on bicycles jumped him, robbed him, and shot him four times - twice in the stomach, once in the shoulder and once in the back of the head.

"There are no words," Ortega says, his eyes filled with tears. 

Doctors pulled Joseph out of his coma, he didn't respond as well as they wanted. He's still having problems breathing The good news is he can slightly move his fingers and eyelids when someone asks him to, meaning he can hear his family members at his bedside.

"As my mom was talking to him, his eyes filled with tears," Ortega says.

Ortega is keeping the faith that Joseph will recover, and have a second chance at life. 

"People didn't expect him to come out of this. So the fact that he's alive is flat out a miracle," he says.

Joseph's friends set up a fund to help with his medical bills so he can stay in Honduras's best hospital. He is still too fragile to fly home.

One person even donated air miles so his mother could fly to be with him on Christmas.

If you would like to donate or see updates on Joseph's condition, click here.



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