ROSEVILLE-- Tonight an Auburn man is being called a hero. He is credited with saving his coworker’s life.
Investigators say Joseph De la Cruz opened fire at the Quick Lube service center where his wife works.
The couple got in a fight but, Joseph Schaefer took a bullet.
The victim’s longtime girlfriend, Catherine Hedden, expressed that the woman De la Cruz was aiming at, said “I would not be alive if it wasn't for him."
Friday, he remains in the ICU recovering.
Hedden has been by his bedside here at Sutter Roseville. Her boyfriend Joseph Schaefer was taken here in critical condition on Tuesday afternoon after being shot.
While he hasn't regained his strength loved ones say he still has his sense of humor.
Standing outside the intensive care unit, Hedden shares an old photograph of her and her longtime boyfriend, Schaefer.
Schaefer has spent the last three days in a hospital bed; fighting to survive a gunshot wound that almost killed him.
"He does have the bullet still in him. It hit his lung, his lung collapsed, and he lost a lot of blood," said Hedden.
Investigators say, Tuesday a man with a gun showed up at an Auburn Quick Lube service center.
The man's wife works there with Schaefer. The couple got in an argument outside and shots were fired inside. Schaefer took a bullet.
The suspect's wife told Hedden - he risked his life to save hers.
"She says absolutely 100% he was the hero - so that’s good to hear - I’m proud of him. I’m sorry he had to take a bullet," said Hedden.
Despite the bullet still being in his body, Schaefer is improving.
"He’s tough. He’s a really tough man, He’s actually healing very well but he’s not out of the woods yet," express Hedden.
But he is talking, Hedden said he told her he wants to come home.
"I said, ‘everyone’s calling you a hero’ and he said, ‘are you sure they didn’t say zero,’” Hedden said expressing humor - even in the darkest moments.
The couple is also grateful for the generosity from the community.
"It’s overwhelming; makes me tear up when I think about it," Hedden said.
People have been donating money to help this hero get his strength back.
Shaefer is the breadwinner for their family so on top of the medical bills - it’s tough for them financially as well.
As for the gunman, he was arrested on Wednesday - a day after the shooting.
Hedden says feeling any anger towards the shooter isn’t productive her priority is being right here making sure Schaefer recovers.
If you’d like to help this family, you can do so by visiting their GoFundMe page.