ANTIOCH -- The Iraq War veteran who survived three tours of duty only to be shot three blocks away from his house last Friday may have yelled at a passing car, prompting someone in the vehicle to fire at him, a family friend said Monday.
Brandon Del Fiorentino, a 32-year-old Antioch resident, remains in serious but stable condition at a hospital after being shot Friday night.
"He yelled at the car to slow down, and they shot him," said Josie Monaghan, the founder and CEO of East County Veterans, an organization that offers counseling and support services for local veterans. "I'm mortified and just really upset. We shouldn't treat anyone like this, especially not someone who put his life on the line for his country."
For Del Fiorentino, who grew up in San Jose and enlisted in the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, moving to Antioch was a chance to start over. The veteran was gravely injured in 2004 by an explosive detonated by Iraqi insurgents and awarded the Purple Heart. But after the limelight faded, Del Fiorentino struggled with spine, brain and eye injuries and post-traumatic stress syndrome, even moving his family into his grandmother's home in Southern California for a time.
But in 2012, the Del Fiorentinos received a four-bedroom home in Antioch from the Military Warrior Support Foundation's "Homes 4 Wounded Heroes." Since moving back to the Bay Area, Del Fiorentino has been commuting to San Jose, where he works in film and video production, and enjoyed spending time with his five children, including an infant daughter. Now he faces a long recovery and the prospect of losing the family's only income.
Monaghan, whose son is also a veteran, has started a fund to help the Del Fiorentinos pay for medical and other expenses.
"He overcame so many struggles only to have something so senseless happen to him," said Monaghan. "It's just mind-blowing."
Donations for the Del Fiorentino family can be made at Mechanics Bank on Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg, account number 041921267, or through East County Veterans, 708 W. Second St., Antioch, CA 94509. Online donations are also being accepted at www.gofundme.com/cgfwhw.
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