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Soldier shot, paralyzed during welcome home party

December 24, 2011 |  4:38 pm

A soldier on leave from Afghanistan was shot and seriously injured Friday night in San Bernardino during a welcome home party in his honor, police said.

Christopher Sullivan, 22, was on leave from the Army for the holidays and attending a party when his brother and another man began arguing over football a little before midnight, San Bernardino Police Lt. Gwendolyn Waters said.

The gunman, a man in his 20s, punched Sullivan's brother, Waters said. Sullivan stepped in and the other man pulled a gun from his waistband and fired at least three shots. Two shots hit Sullivan, one in the neck and the other in the buttocks.

Between 30 and 40 people attended the party, which was held at the home of one of Sullivan's friends, Waters said. The shooting happened outside, in the side yard.

Sullivan is in very serious condition, though he is expected to survive. The shooter fled the party on foot and has not been located or identified. 

The San Bernardino Sun reported that Sullivan sustained a cracked collar bone and brain damage last December in Afghanistan in a suicide bombing. He was recovering at a base in Kentucky. Sullivan was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries, the paper reported.

Police told KTLA-TV that Sullivan may be paralyzed as a result of the shooting.

"We're not sure if he's going to be paraplegic or quadriplegic," Sgt. Gary Robertson said.

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