A Kokomo man who survived a car accident and overcame paralysis was gunned down in Ohio last week.
Michael Bruist, 21, died in Cleveland on Friday while looking for his lost dog in his neighborhood. He was held up at gunpoint and shot in the chest.
Michael was a survivor, his father said. At 18, he survived a car accident, though he was paralyzed from the waist down with a bleak future.
"They gave him a 3 percent chance of ever walking again," said his mother Peggy Bruist.
But Michael didn't give up. He spent nearly a year in rehab at an Atlanta medical facility and started walking again, even dancing at his high school Prom.
"He had no fear. He was just going to make it," said Peggy Bruist.
Soon, he moved to Cleveland where he attended auto body school. He was nearly finished with his schooling when the cruel twist of fate hit the family. They told Fox59, police arrested two suspects in the shooting, but are still looking for one more.
"I don't understand why he's gone with all that's he's fought for. It's just not fair," said Gene Bruist.
Through her tears, Peggy Bruist added, "We're the ones in prison. We'll be in prison for the rest of our lives over this."
Now, his parents are leaning on their son's strength to get through their loss, but they know it won't be easy. The funeral is Thursday and they know that is when reality will really hit.
"When I see him lying there and can't reach up and hug me anymore, I know it's going to kill me."
Michael's friends and family are holding a memorial Thursday at 8 p.m. at Gorilla Skateshopt on 620 S. Buckeye St. in Kokomo.
There will be a balloon release and a fundraiser to help raise money to help pay for funeral expenses. The family is also accepting donations to the Michael Bruist Memorial Fund at Financial Builders Credit Union.