Man injured in Lehigh Acres shooting speaks about friend who was killed

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A man stands in front of memorial that remains at the site where 23-year-old Yairo Oropeza died of gunshot injuries during a road rage June 28, 2021 in Lehigh Acres. The man standing at the memorial Wednesday, July 28, 2021 was injured in the shooting and survived. Credit: WINK News.

A month ago, Yairo Oropeza and his best friend were attacked while they were riding ATVs in Lehigh Acres. Oropeza was shot and killed, and his best was injured in the shooting and survived.

We spoke to Oropeza’s best friend Wednesday in an exclusive sit-down, as he shared memories of when they were attacked on June 28 and Oropeza lost his life. We protected the identity of the man for his personal safety.

“When I seen the guy start shooting at us, that’s when I started to panic to be honest, and I started running,” he told WINK News.

The scars from the shooting are still visible on this man’s body. He can’t work. He can’t feel his fingers. He can’t stretch out his arm, and the memories and the reality of his friend’s death will last forever.

Oropeza and his best friend were riding ATVs when the shooting happened in what deputies said was a case of road rage against the pair.

“He was my brother. We spent a lot of time together,” Oropeza said. “We were coming down the street. We accidentally cut them off, and they chased us down, and it happened from there. They started shooting at us.”

Oropeza died at the scene, and his friend suffered serious injuries.

“I got hit with four and two more, so it would be six, so it would be more because they were more gunshots. So like a lot,” he said.

The man was shot in the arm, the stomach and the hip, and he somehow managed to call 911 in an effort to save his “brother.”

“I’m gonna be thinking about this day for the rest of my life,” he said. “I think about it every day, obviously, and I don’t know; I’ll cope, but it’s not gonna be the same.”

A memorial remains at the spot Oropeza was killed. His family wants to buy the land. They said that as long as the memorial is in place, they will keep his memory alive.

“It’s a way to remember him by, but it’s never going to be the same without him here,” Oropeza’s friend said.

Yusafali Gooding, 27, of Lehigh Acres faces a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting. He remains in the Lee County Jail.

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