SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A gang shooting at a popular resort area in Mexico last week left two dead and four Americans injured. One of the tourists caught in the middle of it all is from Utah.
Tanner Vanvalkenburg was sitting poolside in Mexico with his partner and two friends when they heard gunfire.
“From that moment we basically kind of all got up and started to run and basically all of us jumped into the pool,” he said.
Moments later Vanvalkenburg was caught in the crosshairs of gunfire by rival gangs.
“As soon as I went to dive, I got hit like mid-dive,” he said. A bullet struck him in the back.
He tells ABC4 he stayed in the pool as one of the gunmen walked by.
“At that moment I was just like, ‘man, this is how I’m going.’ I’m either going to die from all this blood loss, or either going to be dying because he’s going to end up shooting the couple people that were still in the pool hiding,” he said.
Vanvalkenburg was later taken to the hospital where doctors told him he’s lucky to be alive.
And it’s a gift that he’s not taking for granted.
“Don’t take life for granted, and if something does happen, it could be a lot worse than it is,” Vanvalkenburg said.
The bullet is still lodged in his back, but Tanner said he’s on the road to recovery and he’s grateful for everyone’s support.
The armed suspects initially escaped but local officials confirmed to ABC News on Friday that five people are now in custody.