LOS ANGELES – An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the head when a stranger opened fire in his home as he lay in bed was released from the hospital on Friday.
"My head kinda hurts right now, but I'm OK with it," Leo Bernal told KNBC-TV as he sat on a bench outside Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He told the station that he looks forward to playing sports again.
His scalp was partially shaved and marred by two long, stapled incisions.
"They had to open up his skull and take it out, and now he has 23 staples," said his mother, Teresa Bernal.
Police have asked the public's help in finding the gunman who opened fire at around 11:55 p.m. Sunday inside the boy' home in the Del Rey neighborhood near Venice Beach.
The boy had just been put to bed when his father heard the unlocked security door and front door open and thought it was his 20-year-old son returning, police said.
Instead, a stranger wearing a hooded sweatshirt entered, exchanged a few words and then began shooting at and chasing the father, according to the family's account.
Bullets pierced the wall of the bedroom where the 8-year-old and his 17-year-old brother were in bed.
The father told police he ran into the boy's bedroom and tried to shield him as the gunman followed, still firing.
"It was a matter of seconds, just bam! Bam! Bam!," Leo's mother told KNBC-TV. "Fourteen shots, all pointed into my kid's room."
The boy's brother, parents and grandmother weren't hit.
Detectives are seeking a motive for the attack.
Meanwhile, Leo's mother said Leo is scared to go home.
"Who wants to go back to that? It's like the nightmare," she said. "My son (has been) crying about going home. He doesn't want to go home. He's horrified."
The hospital offered the family a few free nights at a hotel and a pamphlet for social services, KNBC-TV reported.
Information from: KNBC-TV, http://www.nbc4.tv/