Hatchet Attack Victim Gets NFL Hug

Tennessee Titans player visits local nurse at Palomar Medical Center.

By Susan Taylor
|  Thursday, Jan 21, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 AM PDT
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Hatchet Attack Victim Speaks Out

NBCSanDiego.com

Anguiano gets a hug at the hospital on Wednesday.

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A North County man who was brutally attacked while sleeping got a special visit from a pro football player this week.

Eugene Amano, who plays for the Tennessee Titans and attended Rancho Bernardo High School, gave Chris Anguiano a football jersey and hat, an autographed picture and a big hug on Wednesday. 

In July, Anguiano and his girlfriend were attacked in their Escondido bedroom by a man armed with two hatchets. Anguiano is now legally blind and needs help walking and doing other everyday tasks, including brushing his teeth. The North County resident  was clearly moved by Amano's visit to the Palomor Medical Center. 

"To have a football star come out to visit me -- I don't get many visitors," Anguiano said. "But the nurses keep me busy and take me out places." 

For his part, Amano was touched by Anguiano's will to keep fighting.

"With my mom working here, she told me his story, and it's just unfortunate what happened," said Amano. "I just wanted to come in and let him know that he'll get through this, and he's a good guy and his spirits are definitely high still given the situation."   

After the attack, Anguiano said, "my life was real good. I was working at Palomar Hospital as a nurse, hanging out with nurses. We would go to social parties, and I would be able to drive everywhere."

On July 9 at about 1:15 a.m., that all changed when Anguiano and his girlfriend Samantha were attacked, allegedly by Gamalier Reyes Rivera, 32. Prosecutors said the attack may have been a case of mistaken identity and that Rivera may have been after his then-estranged wife and her boyfriend, who were sleeping in another room.

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