ETX man gunned down in Honduras, now fighting for his life - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

ETX man gunned down in Honduras, now fighting for his life

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Joe French is recovering at a Honduras hospital. Joe French is recovering at a Honduras hospital.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas man is fighting for his life after a brutal attack.

Family said 27-year-old Joseph French, a former KLTV employee and local artist, moved to Honduras about a year ago to follow his passion for art while giving back to the community as a high school English teacher. 

They pointed out a photo posted to his Facebook page that they believe was taken just hours before thieves attacked him. 

"He was shot four times and it happened right in front of his house. Between the school and the house is about 100 feet," said David Ortega, Joe's brother. 

From what the family has been told, Joe was leaving his school's Christmas party Friday evening when he was gunned down, and according to a preliminary investigation,"they're a group of kids that steal and turn it in for drugs. That's our understanding," Ortega said.  

"There's only been one witness and she's afraid to talk because of retaliation," Ortega said.

The family said it is a miracle that Joe survived the attack. Now, he is recovering at a Honduras hospital. They said he has already undergone six surgeries and does not have health insurance.  

His family said the school has offered to pay for his hospital stay post surgery, which averages about $5,000 a day, but soon that will end. 

"The school has said two more days, so we have to find other means to care for him and the goal right now is to bring him home," Ortega said.  

Now they are asking East Texans for financial help, so he can recover at a local hospital. 

"We are knocking on doors asking people to help. Prayers, prayers can move a mountain," Ortega said.  

Friends have already started collecting money.

"People have helped us and we are in debt," Ortega said.  

Friends said the medical flight to bring Joe home to East Texas could cost up to $25,000. That would include the cost of the medical staff needed to care for Joe during the flight. Joe's family said they are still reaching out to local hospitals to see which one can admit him. 

If you would like to make a donation to help pay for Joe's medical expenses, click here.

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