Victim's family: This is not a gay issue... it's never right to fire a gun
Or Gill, 16, was shot twice in the attack, and at the present time it is unknown whether he will ever walk again.
By HANNAH FISHER
The family of one of the victims of Saturday's shooting attack at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv spoke out for the first time since the attack, expressing their shock and outrage at the targeting of innocent Israeli youth, regardless of the motive.
Or Gill, 16, was shot twice in the attack, and while doctors at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv say that hopefully he will be released from hospital within the next couple of days, at the present time it is unknown whether he will ever walk again.
"At the moment, Or doesn't know what's going on. He's being given painkillers and so doesn't feel the agony he's really in. Or's friends visit him constantly, and he has no time to think about what's happened or what his life will be like after the attack and once he leaves the hospital," a spokesman for the family, a close relative of Or's mother who wished to remain anonymous, said Monday.
When asked whether the family thought the attack had been motivated by homophobia, the spokesman said, "It doesn't matter whether or not this is a gay issue, the attack is dreadful and it's never right to fire a gun, especially at innocent teenagers."
Or was a frequent visitor to the gay youth center on the corner of Nachmani and Ahad Ha'am streets, and his mother knew he was there on Saturday night, the relative said.
While chatting and playing games with his friends, Or noticed a man enter the room dressed in black, wearing a balaclava and holding a gun.
At first, Or had thought it was a joke; that the masked man was one of his friends playing a prank. But then the man started to shoot.
In the first round of fire Or was hit in the knee. One of his friends dragged him under one of the few tables in the room, but he was only half shielded, and a second shot pierced Or's shoulder.
"Physically, Or was lucky. He was hit in two places it's relatively easy for doctors to get bullets out of. Mentally, however, Or is already scarred and the reality of the attack has still not hit him properly. He's still in shock," said the spokesman.
Or's family live close to the center, and when they heard of the attack rushed straight to the scene.
"When we arrived, the scene was chaotic; we couldn't get close to Or and had no idea if he was injured," explained Or's relative. However, he said emergency services personnel quickly asked uninvolved members of the public to leave the scene so they could do their jobs efficiently.
"The scene became surreal," he said. "No one was talking or shouting, although some people were crying. There were flashing lights everywhere, it was like something out of a movie."
Within half an hour all of the wounded had been taken to hospitals in the surrounding area. Or's mother accompanied him in the ambulance to Ichilov, but other family members had to wade through Tel Aviv traffic to reach him.
The family spokesman said other Israelis also felt that the motive for the attack was irrelevant, pointing out that it had not just been left to the gay community to provide support for Or, his family and the other victims of the attack. "We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of all kinds of Israelis," said the spokesman. "People are not discussing what they think about Or being gay, they are just concerned that he gets the support he needs, and that we are helped too."
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