When a deranged gunman burst into a birthday party being held by the Martinez family in their home, things seemed very bad for all of them. Fortunately, they were saved by a hero: the family dog, who selflessly threw himself against the armed intruder and wrestled him to the ground even after sustaining several bullet injuries.
Laura Martinez wrote in her GoFundMe that she was throwing the party for her youngest daughter when the teenage shooter, who the family was acquainted with, arrived. He opened fire, "hitting Martinez in the leg, her son, Taylor Hollier, in the foot, and her stepdaughter, Valerie Pace, near her spine and in her thigh."
It may sound incredibly lucky that no one was killed after a gunman began shooting in such close quarters, but the Martinezes know luck had nothing to do with it. They credit their lives to Zero, the family's Great Pyrenees, who jumped up to bite the shooter on the arm and then knock him over.
Zero sustained three bullet wounds and would eventually die from the injuries.
Pace feels she owes her life to Zero:
"He jumped up to protect us and never showed any fear, even when he was struck."
Martinez is grateful to her pooch, but also heartbroken. You can never replace a true friend:
"I'm gonna miss him a lot."
Police have identified the shooter as Javian Castenada, who also allegedly snuck into the Martinez home the night before the party and stole several of their belongings. He is still on the run from Harris County authorities and wanted for "three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon."
In the wake of the attack, the family has started a GoFundMe to help support them through this difficult time. Laura wrote in the description:
"I am now on crutches and cannot work as I am a driver for Lyft and was shot in the right leg. I will have to see a vascular surgeon to prepare the damage. The police still have not caught him and my younger children are afraid, hell I'm afraid! We need help paying for surgeries, medicines, general bills as now two of us cannot work and the vet bill to have my Zero the Hero put down after the surgeon said he couldn't be saved. The emergency room bills are ridiculously high, I just don't know what to do but this. Any help is appreciated and if you can't help thank you for taking the time to read this and pray they find this dumb kid with a gun before he hurts anyone else."
Social media users were eager to chip in and help the Martinez family:
Hopefully the Martinezes are able to reach their goal so they can start rebuilding their life, but some things will never be the same. They will surely always miss their loyal pup who gave his all to protect his family.