A former Cayman Islands national team football player has been told he will never walk again after being seriously injured in a shooting at a bar in Honduras.
Arturo Murillo Johnson, 34, was one of four people injured when a gunman opened fire at a bar in Le Ceiba last month.
Now his two Caymanian children, ages 11 and 7, are trying to raise money for a wheelchair for their father.
Mr. Murillo, a construction worker, lived in Grand Cayman until he and his wife separated four years ago.
Angeline Murillo, from George Town, said the couple were still married and were still close. She flew out to Honduras with sons Francisco and Harris last week to be by his hospital bedside.
Former teammates at Bodden Town FC have spoken of their shock and sadness at the incident. Murillo, a talented defender played three seasons with the club and was part of their first ever FA Cup winning side – alongside government minister Dwayne Seymour – in 2001.
Mrs. Murillo said her husband had his spine severed by a bullet in the shooting incident on 20 April.
His condition was initially listed as critical, but he has now been transferred to a rehab centre and faces a long and expensive road to recovery.
She said Mr. Murillo had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She said his injuries were particularly devastating because he was an athlete.
“Football was his passion. He was playing in the neighbourhood the day he got shot. I don’t think he will ever come to grips with the fact that he can’t play again.”
She said Arturo was a good father to her sons and had enjoyed playing football with them.
“We will always have a very close relationship because of our children. This has been very tough on them.
“They are asking me why did daddy get shot and I don’t know what to tell them.
“My oldest son, Francisco, says he wants to raise money to buy a wheelchair for his dad. One of his teachers is helping him get sponsors.”
Arturo’s family in Honduras, along with his wife and friends, will attempt to fund his medical costs. Ms Murillo said friends, including her work colleagues and his former teammates, had also rallied round.
“I have a large family and Arturo was very popular because of his football, so he is very well known still on the Island.”
Kennedy Kelly, vice president of Bodden Town FC, said the club would do everything it could to support their former player. He said Arturo was popular and had been an integral part of the club’s first FA Cup winning side.
“We were very close and I’m personally very upset. I’ve been getting calls all week from his former teammates.
“On behalf of Bodden Town football club I would like to send our best wishes to him. We are praying for him and his family.”
He said Arturo had a passion for football and would be devastated that he couldn’t play again.
In 2001, he was the stand-out player for the Cayman Islands against Trinidad. He told the Cayman Net News at the time: “Football is my life. Give me a football, a place to play and I will be the happiest man alive.”