An Indianapolis teen was shot and called a racial slur over the Labor Day weekend as he was walking home from the grocery store with his mother, Fox59 reports.
Brian Zaragoza suffered a gunshot wound to the back and still has the bullet lodged there, since doctors fear that removing it might cause more damage.
"I didn't actually think it was a bullet until I saw the X-rays," Brian told the news station.
The 14-year-old was walking home with his mom when they heard something like fireworks.
"Out of nowhere I heard a whistling, kind of like a bottle rocket. Then I felt something hit my side and I just lurched forward," the teen explained. Witnesses said that the shots were fired from a moving car, and as the suspects drove by, they yelled an anti-Hispanic slur at the teen.
"The fact that they yelled out a racial term and made it about that—obviously the intent there, in my opinion, is clear because they are specifying why they are shooting at this kid," Carlos May, executive committee of the Indiana Latino Expo, told Fox59.
Just before Brian was shot, there was a shooting at a Mexican taco stand, just blocks away from where the teen was struck. A vehicle carrying an adult and two small children was shot at, but no one was hurt in the incident. The car on the scene of that that shooting matched the description of the one in which Brian's suspected shooters were traveling.
According to the news station, a Hispanic-owned smoke shop was also targeted on Saturday, with surveillance footage capturing an assailant punching the shop's clerk and taking money form the cash register before firing at the employee. The clerk sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.
"A lot of times, these victims are targeted specifically because they just assume they won't go to the police. Maybe they assume that because of the language issue or the immigration-status issue," May told the news station.
Authorities have not confirmed whether the crimes are, in fact, related, however, or whether the shooters were singling out Hispanics.
Read more at Fox59.