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'He's a miracle:' Family shares progress of Hunter High player injured in shooting

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jan 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-23 21:38:19-05

MURRAY, Utah — The uncle of a West Valley City teen who was critically injured in a shooting says the boy is making progress in his recovery.

Ephraim Asiata survived the Jan. 13 shooting near Hunter High School.

“The doctors gave him a 1 percent chance,” said Muka Atiga, Ephraim’s uncle. “That is all he needed.”

Atiga said Ephraim was taken out of the ICU late last week and was able to move around the hospital in a wheelchair.

“He’s a miracle,” he said. “Anything outside of the bed is a miracle already.”

Ephraim could remain hospitalized for several more weeks.

“He faces a long road ahead of him but we are hopeful and appreciative of the continued support that I know we will continue to get,” Atiga said.

He added that Ephraim is aware of the vigils and benefits taking place on his behalf.

Several friends and family members have camped in the parking lot outside of his hospital room to show their support.

“We come from the West Valley City community,” Atiga said. “I am biased, but there is no community in the world more supportive for their people than the West Valley City community.”

The shooting took the lives of 14-year-old Tivani Lopati and 15-year-old Paul Tahi.

Atiga said Ephraim was close friends with the victims.

“Those families we hurt for,” he said. “We want to make sure the Lopati family and the Tahi family know we love them so very much and we offer our support.”