A 14-year-old Texas boy shot while trying out for his school basketball team lost a kidney but should recover to live a normal life, his doctors said.
Edson Amaro sustained massive injuries earlier this month when he and Nicholas Tijerina were shot outside Harwell Middle School near Edinburg in South Texas. The boys were in a parking lot that had been converted into a temporary basketball court.
Doctors at Rio Grande Regional Hospital discussed Edson's condition during a news conference Wednesday.
Edson was shot in the back and the bullet went through a large vein, his stomach, his liver and his right kidney, said Dr. Carlos Garcia-Cantu, director of trauma services at the hospital. The kidney was removed in a five-hour surgery, but Edson is recovering and could make it home for the holidays, he said.
"I know my son Edson has a long recovery road ahead of him, but in the meantime I am happy he is recovering nicely and will look forward to the possibility of spending the holidays at home," Edson's father, Pedro Amaro, said in a statement released to the media Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 13-year-old Nicholas has been unable to move his legs. His doctor said last week that he has been stable and talking, but that it's too soon to know the lasting effects of the shooting. The bullet entered the lower portion of Nicholas' chest under his right arm, damaging the lower portion of his lung. It went through the right half of his liver and through one of the bones of his spine before lodging in the soft tissue of his back.
About 50 students were trying out for the middle school basketball team when the shots rang out the afternoon of Dec. 12. Classes were out, but many children remained on the rural campus for extracurricular activities.
No charges have been filed in the shooting, but rifles have been seized from three men found on adjacent ranchland after the incident.
Investigators questioned the men, releasing two who had been practicing target shooting nearly a mile from the school.
The third man was an illegal immigrant with an assault rifle who was trespassing on the property, authorities said. He was kept in custody on charges of misdemeanor trespass and poaching.
Authorities are trying to determine which, if any, of the rifles fired the shots. Investigators were waiting for the results of ballistic testing on a bullet removed from the 14-year-old.
Earlier this week, a lawyer for the school district said authorities had previously responded to reports of gunfire around the middle school. She said they only confirmed that shots had been heard from afar. The school district contacted an adjacent landowner who said he would no longer allow hunting on the land.