It’s been months since the Gaslamp mass shooting that left one man dead and four others injured. Ever since, a remarkable story of survival and friendship has emerged.
The shooting happened the night of April 22 outside Gaslamp Pizza, which one of Vinny Gazzani, one of the survivors, visited that night. Little did they know, what would happen next.
“He turned around and started, you know, firing into the crowd,” Gazzani said in an NBC 7 exclusive interview back in May. "And, fortunately, I took two of the bullets and my friend got hit in the arm."
Gazzani believes he survived due to the efforts of two childhood friends Dvir Benesh and Shai Gino, who happened to be passing by and whose Israeli military training kicked in as they put pressure on Gazzani’s wounds until paramedics arrived.
The three men first reunited days after the shooting when Gazzani was released from the hospital and his parents came to San Diego to drive him back home.
After Gazzani was shot, he vowed to host the two men who saved his life in his hometown in New Jersey, so on the 4th of July weekend, the Gazzani family, Benesh and Gino all reunited in Seaside Park, NJ. They also spent a couple days in New York City.
“If you ever hear of the Jersey Shore, it's not like the TV show, but we do like to party and have fun, and it's a perfect time to celebrate not just our country's independence but also celebrate the fact that I’m here right now,” Gazzani said. "These two amazing gentlemen are the heroes of San Diego."
All three men said they’ve been anticipating the trip for weeks.
“He showed us all around," Gino said. “I feel like I'm home. I don't feel like I went on vacation.”
“We've been looking forward to it,” Benesh said. “Basically, Vinny planned the whole weekend. We just let him take the lead, and we enjoyed every minute.”
Gazzani said he felt great having his new “brothers” by his side.
“I'm 100% back to full health. and I’m very happy that these guys were there to save me,” Gazzani said.
The men also talked about how it’s been a tough year and a half for our country, especially with the division and pandemic. They hope their story sends a message of unity.
“Let's just spread love, you know, share and care,” Benesh said.
The friends had such a great time, they’re now planning another trip for Christmas in New York City.
Gazzani also thanked the healthcare workers who helped him recover after the shooting.
“I'm super grateful for all the UCSD hospital, health care workers, frontline workers -- you guys are absolutely amazing,” Gazzani said. “And, look at me now: I'm back in my life, and it's all thanks to you guys.”
Investigators said the shooting suspect used an illegal "ghost gun" in the attack. San Diego resident Travis Sarreshteh has pleaded not guilty in the murder of Justice Boldin, who was killed the night of the shooting while working as a hotel valet. as well as attempted murder charges.