Shooting victim recovers, graduates high school

FRESNO, Calif.

Friday, as the 96 Le Grand Union High School seniors walk into their graduation, Garcia walks as an inspiration to her community.

Garcia has worked long and hard to recover enough movement in her legs to walk on her own to accept her high school diploma. "I missed out on a lot, softball, volleyball, a lot of dances, but it's okay those are little things," Garcia said. "I'm still focused on my goal."

The moment of accomplishment almost didn't happen. In late August, Garcia and her boyfriend, Justin Gonzalez, were shot while standing in front of her Planada home. Monica nearly died as a result of a gunshot wound to her head. She was left partially paralyzed.

Her boyfriend, thankfully, only suffered minor injuries.

"It's been hard, but we're all here to support her," Garcia's friend, Jackie Aguilar said.

"It also raised some of the awareness of some of the gang activity that is going on," said Superintendent Donna Alley. "And it made people realize how precious life is."

Three men and one juvenile were arrested for the shooting. Garcia and Gonzales are not involved with any gangs, but investigators say they were targeted because Gonzales happened to be wearing a gang color.

But, after months of physical therapy and an outpouring of support, LeGrand's student body president smiles proudly with her friends.

"After everything I experienced, I saw how awesome those doctors were helping me," she said. "It just made me realize that's what I want to do."

An inspiration to so many, Garcia's hard work is paying off one step at a time.

She plans on attending Fresno State next year.

As for the men accused of shooting the two teens, two of them will be in court Wednesday for a preliminary hearing on attempted murder charges.

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