13-Year-Old Conscious and Fighting to Recover After Drive-By Shooting in West Sacramento

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Two months later, bullet holes are still visible, like scars on a West Sacramento home.

They are reminders of the moments in October when shots fired from a passing car changed a 13-year-old's life forever.

Plastered out front are signs, flowers and prayers for Alize Valadez.

"Oh, the doctors, they're all amazed how she's coming, she's really strong!" said Valadez's grandmother, Hope Penunuri.

Penunuri believes the support is bringing strength to the 13-year-old who has been improving with each passing day in the hospital.

"Still fighting to get all the way back, but she's doing a lot better. I'm surprised," Penunuri said.

After clinging to life for three weeks, Valadez is now in rehab, still completely numb on her left side.  But she is conscious, trying to move and talk.

"She tries to move her lips to say, she'll say everybody's name like that -- sometimes -- not always," Penunuri said.

Penunuri was inside the home when bullets flew in and struck her granddaughter in the head.  Alize was lying on the couch.

Watching her granddaughter suffer, wondering if she'd survive, has been hard for Penunuri.

"Hard, hectic, just so scared," she said.

Last week, fear turned to frustration when the Yolo County District Attorney's office dropped charges in the case.

Prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence against 39-year-old Sonny Martinez.

The Stockton man was arrested shortly after the shooting.

"I'm really mad, really pissed off that they dropped the charges.  I'm just hoping they can still rearrest him because I felt he did it," Penunuri​ said.

As the investigation continues, Valdez keeps fighting at UC Davis Medical Center and loved ones remain grateful Valadez is alive, even though she may never fully recover.


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