'Not everybody can get shot in the head and live to tell about it'

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on January 8, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 12:05 PM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

FARMERSVILLE — A Farmersville father and semi-professional football player is out of the hospital after a road rage shooting three weeks ago.

Justin Brazil, 24, gave his first interview to News 8 on Sunday about the shooting and his recovery.

"That’s where the bullet went in," Brazil said as he pointed to a jagged scar across his shaved head. Fragments of the bullet remain lodged in his brain; surgeons told him it was too risky to operate.

“Not everybody can get shot in the head and live to tell about it,” Brazil said. “I’m very surprised. I’m surprised I didn’t die.”

On Friday, he was released from the hospital — three weeks to the day he was shot on Highway 380 in Princeton.

Police said Brazil's friend, driving a Ford Taurus, cut off a Ford pickup truck driven by Bobby Schule of Flower Mound. Investigators said for the next 10 miles, the truck followed the Taurus before Schule allegedly opened fire, shattering the Taurus’ back window and hitting Brazil in the passenger seat.

“The guy was pretty much driving the truck and started throwing stuff at us,” Brazil recounted. “Then there was a gunshot and then... I got hit in the head.”

Brazil’s friend and the driver of the Taurus, Joe Cumpian, was not injured or charged.

Schule, 47, faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony. Police said Schule admitted to firing the weapon, but did not expect to hit anyone.

Brazil admits he is still angry with the alleged shooter.

Before the incident, Brazil spent much of his free time playing semi-professional football for the North Texas Lightning, one of the teams of the Texas United Football League. He worked as a mover and was studying to become a diesel mechanic to provide for his fiancée and his four daughters and stepdaughters.

The shooting left Brazil partially paralyzed. He cannot move his left arm or part of the left side of his face, giving him an endearing grimace or a "half-smile" when he tries to smile.

"I’ve never been so proud of him," said his mother Annette Brazil. "He’s so strong."

In time, after extensive physical therapy, Brazil hopes to regain the use of his arm. "I want to be able to go play football and do stuff I normally could before," he said.

On Sunday, his former teammates organized a charity football tournament at a Dallas high school to help raise money for his care.

"He didn’t deserve what happened to him. It’s childish; it’s immature stuff,” said Chad Agnor, a former teammate and a coach. “It’s a shame that it happened to such a good guy; he’s not even the same guy anymore.”

The league has more fundraisers planned for later this month.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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