Ryli Perez only has good words to say about his father, San Diego County Sheriff’s Detective Ali Perez.
“My Dad means everything to me,” Ryli told NBC 7 San Diego in an exclusive interview. “He’s my hero, he’s my best friend, he’s always been there for me.”
Ryli is now repaying his father by being at his bedside as he recovers from severe gunshot wounds at Sharp Memorial Hospital.
Detective Perez suffered those wounds during a gun battle with a suspected child molester at a Lakeside apartment complex last month.
The child abuse detective was struck twice by high caliber .308 bullets and nearly died.
But Ryli says his father is making a strong recovery.
“He’s talking, he’s walking,” Ryli said. “He walked so far the other day, I watched him walk 30 yards.”
Ryli said his father recently told him what he remembers about the shooting. Detective Perez told his son that he was immediately struck by bullets as he walked into the suspect’s apartment.
“He remembered the door getting shut behind him while all the gunfire was going,” Ryli said. “He remembered the door opening and him trying to crawl out but people were still shooting.”
Fellow law enforcement officers eventually pulled Detective Perez to safety. Sgt. Craig Johnson was also struck in the arm by a bullet during the shooting, and is now recovering at home.
Ryli is grateful to the public for all the help his family has gotten since the shooting.
“Thank you for being there for us because it’s what we need the most, the love and support,” Ryli said.
Several fundraisers are being held to help the Perez family deal with the financial burden. STACKED Restaurant Mission Valley is donating 20 percent of its proceeds to Perez's family on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, Rubios will do the same at its east county restaurants.
On Friday, Rubios north county will hold a similar fundraiser.
On Thursday, November 1, all Chili’s restaurants in San Diego County will also donate a percentage of its customer sales to the Perez family.