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14-year-old Phoenix boy meets first responders who saved his life

(KTAR News/Corbin Carson)

PHOENIX — There were plenty of tears flowing as a 14-year old Phoenix boy came face-to-face with the first responders who saved his life on Wednesday.

“Thank you for saving my life,” said Eric Mendez, who was a bit nervous in front of all the media. “I’m happy to be alive.”

In 2016, when Eric was 12, a gun accidentally went off and one bullet made a lot of scars.

“It came through my arm right here, it came out, it came through my chest right here,” he said. “It came out and came into my other arm.”

In all, the one bullet went in one arm, through the heart, lung and liver before going out the other arm.

When paramedics showed up on that day Eric had already coded, which typically means he was not breathing and had no pulse. Firefighters said just one in 1,000 people survive a code.

Some called it a miracle. But Eric’s grandmother said it best when she thanked the Phoenix Firefighters and Phoenix Children’s Hospital doctors and nurses who saved him.

“There are no words big enough, there are no hugs strong enough to show our gratitude,” she said. “A million thank you’s to say how much we appreciate you.”

“Thank you for your quick response, thank you for your strength, thank you for your knowledge,” she added. “Thank you for your service.”

And Eric had a message for other kids: “Never ask for a gun. If their parents have a gun, never [ask] them to see it.”

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