Raleigh mom of 4 paralyzed after getting shot during armed robbery, police say

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Five seconds of terror changed a Raleigh family’s life forever.

That’s how Benacio Aguilar-Zavala described the September 4 shooting that paralyzed his wife, Natalia Valle-Herrera. She remains in the WakeMed Intensive Care Unit receiving treatment for injuries suffered when a bullet severed her spine.

“She’s out of danger now, but the bullet wound affected her organs and her body,” Aguilar-Zavala said through a Raleigh Police Department translator. “She’s going to be under rehabilitation therapy. We don’t know what’s going to happen when she gets released from the hospital.”

The couple left WakeMed hospital just a few minutes before the shooting. He hurt his back at work and went to the hospital for treatment.

As they returned home around 1 a.m., Aguilar-Zavala said he saw a couple of people around the corner from the apartment on Calumet Drive. He said a man ambushed them as they approached their front door.

“I didn’t know this was going to happen, otherwise I wouldn’t have went to the hospital,” he said about the incident that led to their late arrival home.

Investigators said the attacker grabbed Valle-Herrara’s purse and fired a shot into her side. She fell to the ground, and Raleigh police said the man tried to shoot Aguilar-Zavala as well.

“He fired at me twice, but his weapon or pistol did not fire, I don’t know what happened,” he said.

His wife remains hospitalized, and Aguilar-Zavala spends much of his days with her. However, he said he can’t stay there at night as he needs to be home with their five-month-old son and three other children.

He said he hopes sharing his story will convince someone to come forward with information about the shooting. Police want any witnesses to contact Raleigh Crimestoppers at 919-834-HELP.

“My wife is asking others to help us,” Aguilar-Zavala said.

She also asked him to find a new place for them to live.

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