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10-year-old struck by bullet at Chiefs parade says surviving shooting was a 'miracle'

Samuel Arellano, a fifth grader, was struck by a bullet that narrowly missed his lungs at the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl celebration.
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A 10-year-old boy who was shot at the Kansas City Chiefs victory rally this week said a bullet missed his lungs by centimeters and it's a “miracle” he’s alive.

Samuel Arellano was celebrating the team's Super Bowl win at the parade Wednesday with his grandfather, uncle and cousin when the fun spiraled into chaos. A fight broke out just after the rally ended, and a crowd began rushing toward the fifth grader, he said Friday.

Samuel Arellano with his mother, Aby Arellano.
Samuel Arellano with his mother, Aby Arellano.Maggie Vespa / NBC News

What happened next is a bit of blur, Samuel said. He remembers he moved toward a trash can — something he learned at active-shooting training at school — and two or three shots rang out as he was pushed to the ground and trampled.

The next thing he could recall was a sharp pain on his right side: “Like something burned. Like a knife burn with the lighter, like someone stabbed me,” he said.

But the pain was not overwhelming and he had no visible blood on the red Patrick Mahomes jersey he was wearing, Samuel said.

His family returned home 20 minutes after the shooting and they later discovered a bullet wound once he took off his shirt.

Samuel said seeing the injury brought his family to tears, but he tried to stay tough.

“If I looked at it, I know I was going to cry — a lot,” he said.

However, the boy was moved to tears when doctors told him he narrowly escaped serious injury because the bullet, which struck a bone, missed his lungs by centimeters.

“I started crying. But like, I was kind of happy because if it hit my lungs, it would have been a different situation.”

The near miss was a “miracle,” Samuel said.

Aby Arellano, 34, said that when she saw her youngest child's gunshot wound, she felt something no mother, especially of a young child, is prepared for.

“It’s a pain I don’t wish on anyone,” she said.

Samuel said that since his release from the hospital Wednesday night, he’s been having trouble sleeping.

“I do get flashbacks of like the shooting, and then I wake up crying,” he said.

In total, 23 people were shot, including nine children. One of the victims, popular radio DJ Lisa Lopez-Galvan, died from her injuries.

Two teenagers have been charged in the shooting, but Samuel said something more should be done.

“They should fix the laws” on guns, the 10-year-old said.

Aby Arellano said that looking at the Mahomes jersey her son was wearing when he was shot doesn't making her sad; rather, it makes her happy. The No. 15 jersey not only has a bullet hole in it, but also a dark shoe print from where someone had stepped on Samuel’s back.

“It’s almost like the jersey saved his life,” Aby Arellano said. “It’s the salvation of my son. It’s something incredible that nothing major happened to my son.”

She said that because it's made of thick fabric, it may have caused the bullet, which went through the right sleeve, to ricochet just enough that it hit a bone and not his lungs.

As for Samuel, who’s been a “big” Chiefs fan “since I was little,” he's dreaming of a career in football. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Mahomes, and play quarterback — or maybe tight end like Travis Kelce.

On Friday, the Chiefs announced an emergency response fund — aptly titled KC Strong — in partnership with United Way of Greater Kansas City to support shooting victims and their families.

Donations will also go toward first responders, violence prevention and mental health services, the team said on Instagram.

In honor of its launch, the Chiefs, the Hunt Family Foundation and the NFL are donating $200,000 to the KC Strong foundation “to ensure that we are helping to support the victims and first responders in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s tragedy,” the statement said.