New baby boy brings joy after shooting

<p>David Ramirez and Twila Jones gaze at their newborn son, David. The baby was St. Anthony Hospital's first of 2013.</p>

For shooting victim David Ramirez, Pendleton’s first baby of the year symbolizes joy after darkness.

Ramirez is still recovering from multiple gunshot wounds he received during an attack at a friend’s apartment last fall. The suspected shooter, Alexandre Perez Velasco, also of Boardman, is still at large.

On Tuesday morning, Ramirez, 30, and his longtime girlfriend, Twila Jones, gazed lovingly at their tiny son — David Dacen Ramirez. Jones, of Pendleton, cradled the 8-pound, 8-ounce infant in her arms. Ramirez sat on Jones’ bed at St. Anthony Hospital and held the baby with his eyes.

“He’s a blessing,” Ramirez said of little David, whose first cry came at about 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Jones said her newborn has four older sisters; three are hers and one is Ramirez’s daughter. The baby is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. In keeping with Native American tradition, Jones said, the couple did not purchase any clothing or supplies for the baby, waiting until birth.

A tub of community gifts were the baby’s first possessions — stuffed bear, quilt, night light, bib, silver baby spoon, diapers and other items. Jones’ mother was out shopping for more baby supplies.

Jones said the grueling 13-hour labor wore her out, but she kept strong by thinking of all her grandmothers who had given birth before her. Jones’ sister, Matilda Hoisington, coached while Ramirez provided extra support. Afterwards, Jones held her son with reverence.

“It’s the most miraculous feeling,” she said.

Ramirez wouldn’t be specific, but said his old life caught up with him in November when he got tangled up in violence and took four bullets. Several years before that, he started on a new path that involved church, soccer coaching and other activities when the shooting set him back. He limps now and his arm is in a sling. Therapy will be part of his routine for a while.

“I went through a lot of obstacles to end up with this little guy,” he said. “He’s my miracle.”

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Contact Kathy Aney at kaney@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0810.

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