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Family struck by gunfire in grocery store was visiting Utah for daughter’s cancer treatment

Posted at 9:34 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-11 23:34:54-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - Less than six hours after taking bullet fragments to her stomach and leg, 3-year-old Esmerelda Padilla and her wounded mother emerged from Primary Children’s Hospital to go home.

“We feel lucky,” said a grateful father and husband, Hugo Padilla.

Rufino Cervantes

Maybe even more remarkable was how the Padillas can keep a positive attitude when you consider everything they’ve been through in the past year.

Visiting Salt Lake from Las Vegas, the family is in town to get their daughter cancer treatment. Recently, she had one and a half kidneys removed. Loved ones created a GoFundMe page for the family to help with her medical expenses several months ago.

Wednesday’s shooting had the family questioning everything.

“When we were on the way to the hospital tonight we asked God, ‘Why? Why we?’”

The family said the nightmare began when they were checking out of a Smith’s grocery store in West Valley.

“When we were coming out, a white guy was coming inside and started to [shoot],” Padilla said.

He said his wife and daughter were crying, and he had difficulty handling their injuries, but he credits paramedics with a quick response.

“We just want to ask him why he did that to people he [didn’t] know," Padilla said.

The suspect was taken into custody a few hours after the shooting, and police say he was booked into jail after being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his leg. He has been identified as 36-year-old Rufino Cervantes.