BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two days before his 12th birthday, Juan Rodriguez suffered an experience no child should.
Juan was caught in a shooting Wednesday night, right outside his home on Humason Avenue in Buffalo. Juan was seriously injured while trying to protect his family from gunfire.
"He's a great, great exceptional kid. He's smart, he's the sweetest thing. My baby is extra special, and for him to know, I think he had a feeling, and when he ran to the door before us, he opened it to make sure his sisters got in," said Sonia Pagan, Juan's mother, describing what happened on their doorstep.
Pagan said she and Juan were inside the house when they heard shots, and Juan immediately went to the front door to help her stepson and two daughters who were outside.
"If he would not open that door, them two shots would have been for his sisters."
Instead, Pagan said the first shot flew by them, and the second hit Juan in his forehead.
"When my baby was laid out on the floor, he wasn't responding or nothing and I grabbed towels and put it on my baby's head to hold him, and to hold pressure, and my baby grasp one breath of air. When he did that, he started moving," she said.
Despite all her family's been through, Pagan is optimistic.
"It's going to get better, I have faith that everything will get better. He's a strong kid."
"Juan is just, a bundle of joy. He makes sure you're okay, he loves to play, he's a good kid in school, he gets good grades," said Tylor Rodriguez, Juan's older brother, "He's caring, loving. He's everything a kid should be."
Everything, including an innocent victim of violence that his family said has to stop.
"Violence is just going to create more violence. If you want to end the violence, help catch the person. Help give answers, because at the end of the day, if this was your relative, your brother, your sister, you'd want people to do the same," said Rodriguez.
"Open your mouth so you can retaliate the right way," said Pagan.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call the Buffalo Police Confidential tipcall line at (716) 847-2255.
Pagan said she does not know Detavion Magee, the 20-year-old man injured in the shooting.