By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul man is out of the hospital after he was shot Wednesday morning on his way to work.

He is one of seven people who have been shot since since Tuesday morning. Two of them have died, bringing the city’s homicide total to 23, which is up from 15 at this time last year.

With a bullet in the back, and another in the leg, DiMario Estrada, 22, is lucky to be alive. He was shot in the leg and the back, with that bullet piercing one of his lungs. WCCO spoke with his mother, Michelle Estrada.

“He just remembers running and them saying that they were going to shoot him,” Michelle said.

DiMario was on his way to work early Wednesday after spending the night at a friend’s house. Michelle said he had just gotten into his car when two men came up to him asking him for help.

“They asked if he could help them because they just got robbed at a bar,” Michelle said.

But the men then robbed DiMario at gunpoint. He gave them an e-cigarette and bolted for the house he came from. As he ran, he felt bullets pierce through his skin.

One of DiMario Estrada’s wounds (credit: CBS)

He was rushed to the hospital, his family could barely see him due to COVID-related restrictions.

“Being a mom, you want to see your son and be there with him, but I couldn’t, so that was the hard part for me,” Michelle said.

DiMario is not alone. So far this year, 144 people have been shot in the city, which is way up from the 86 who had been shot at this time last year. Police say shots fired calls are up 130%. Michelle says DiMario’s father works for the police department.

“I think we always just assume it’s never going to happen to your family or you just hope it never does. I guess it just shows that it can happen to anybody,” she said.

DiMario is out of the hospital. The bullet that pierced his lung will stay there for now. He’s walking, and is in good spirits.

“He wanted to go back to work. He’s ready to go back to work tomorrow. We’re like ‘no,’” Michelle said. “He doesn’t want to inconvenience anybody.”

But his family knows that this could have been a much sadder story.

“It’s tremendous, and we’re very thankful, and he’s very thankful,” she said.

Police are still looking for the suspects. The family is collecting donations to help with DiMario’s medical expenses.

Erin Hassanzadeh