(FOX 11) - At just 12 years old, Richard Bautista was shot in the head. The doctors told his family he wouldn't survive.
Richard not only survived, but on Friday, he graduated from college.
Ramona and Hector Bautista will tell you there was once a time when the weren't sure if they would see this moment. They weren't even sure if their youngest son would live to see the age of 13.
"It's really something that I don't like to remember," said Hector, Richard's father.
In 1995, Richard was shot in the head while riding in a car after a Dodger' s game.
"It was so massive that it penetrated in through one side and out of the other," explained Ramona, Richard's mother.
"As I looked at him, I held his hand and he had a big hole in his head. I didn't think he was going to survive," said Hector.
Doctors didn't expect for Richard to make it, and they definitely didn't expect for him to do what he did Friday.
Some 22 years after that devastating shooting left him unable to walk or use his hands, Richard graduated with highest honors from one of the largest graduating classes at Cerritos College.
"I didn't know if I could ever get to this point in my life. It's just been so difficult and so hard of a journey," Richard said.
His parents say he is their hero.
"He just kept fighting and fighting through it," said his mother.
"He's a miracle. They said he wasn't going to live, and he's here. They said if he did make it, he would be a vegetable and he's not. He's very smart," said his father.
Now, Richard is determined to let his life be an example to others.
"I hope by doing this I inspire them to just do more with their life because there's so much more that people can do."
Richard says he says he wants use his degree to help others by becoming a motivational speaker.
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