A man accused of shooting and paralyzing a U.S. Army soldier at a homecoming party in his honor surrendered to authorities in California on Monday.
Christopher Sullivan, 22, had just returned home to California from Kentucky where he was stationed while recovering from injuries sustained during a suicide bombing attack in December 2010 while he was in Afghanistan. The San Bernadino County Sun reported that the Army specialist narrowly survived the attack which killed five members of his unit and left Sullivan with a cracked collar bone and brain damage. Sullivan was awarded the Purple Heart after the incident.
Sullivan, 22, was shot at the party in his honor on Friday after an "argument and physical confrontation" with 19-year-old Ruben Ray Jurado, San Bernadino Police Department Sgt. Pete Higgins told CNN.
Accompanied by an attorney, Jurado turned himself in to authorities in Chino Hills early Monday afternoon, said Lt. Gwendolyn Waters. He was then transferred to the custody of San Bernardino police and was to be booked into jail, she said.
Jurado will face charges of attempted murder, police said.
The fight broke out after Jurado and Sullivan's younger brother began arguing about football, his mother, Suzanne Sullivan, told CNN.
"[He] pulled out a gun and shot him twice," she said.
Higgins said Jurado then fled the scene after the shooting.
Sullivan was rushed to a hospital where he was being treated, officials said.
"Right now, my son is hanging in physically," Suzanne Sullivan told CNN. "He's on 100% life support. He can move his head and he responds through nodding and blinking to us. His eyes aren't always open but we try to encourage him to do so as often as possible."
She said her son tried to ask what happened to him at the hospital and when they told him he wanted to know "Why?"
"We told him what it was about and he just closed his eyes," Suzanne Sullivan told CNN.
Suzanne Sullivan said she was told the suspect and her son may have gone to school and played football together.
She also said she couldn't believe what had happened to her son, who she said joined the Army to try and help her out.
"He's a wonderful son ... the best person you could meet on this Earth," she said. "He's a giver, not a taker and just wants to be there for and help people. He was so happy when he joined the Army because he really wanted to defend his country."
Sullivan and her family have been at her son's bedside at a local hospital. A fellow soldier from Christopher Sullivan's 101st Airborne Division brought the infantry's flag to the hospital, Suzanne Sullivan told CNN.
"He loved his platoon, he loved his fellow soldiers," she said as she began to sob. "He was so proud to serve our country."
Tears rolled down Christopher Sullivan's face when he saw the flag of the Screaming Eagles, the nicknamed for the division, his mother said.
"I asked Chris if he wanted to me to hang it on the wall or cover him in it," Suzanne Sullivan said. "He nodded that he wanted me to cover him with it. Once I did that he started to cry, which made me start to cry. It's been really hard on all of us."
She said she was distraught over the news that her son, who was already recovering from injuries sustained during his tour abroad, had returned home only to be paralyzed during a party in the U.S.
"He once told me that if defending this country takes his life so be it," she said. "But to see he survived that and now for this to happen to him, just breaks my heart."
Suzanne Sullivan said her family is having a difficult time coming to terms with what happened. They hope the Jurado will turn himself him.
"We just want justice to be done," she said.
Anyone with more information on this case is asked to call Det. Michele Mahan at 909-384-5619 or Sgt. Gary Robertson at 909-384-5663, or call WeTip anonymously at 800-78-CRIME.
– CNN's Carey Bodenheimer and Janelle Griffin contributed to this report.