Car club hosts car wash for boy hit by stray bullet

Joe Pena sits in his room at University Hospital in San Antonio, after undergoing surgery to remove a .45-caliber slug from his forearm. The 6-year-old boy was struck with the stray bullet on July 4. A car wash fundraiser will be Saturday at Auto Parts on East Rio Grande Street to relieve some of his medical expenses.

Community members are coming together to help defray medical expenses for a 6-year-old Victoria boy who was hit by a stray bullet on the Fourth of July.

Brian Flores, president of Xpressions Car Club Texas, is hosting a car wash benefit for Joe Pena on Saturday at Advance Auto Parts, 904 E. Rio Grande St. All drivers are welcome to donate anything they can, he said.

Joe suffered a gun shot wound at about 10:30 p.m. while watching fireworks from the backyard of his grandparent’s home in the 2000 block of East Forrest Street, Victoria police said. An update on the investigation was not available Wednesday.

He was airlifted to University Hospital in San Antonio, where he underwent surgery to have a .45-caliber slug from his right forearm. His mother, Ashley Gonzales, said he is doing well, but itching to get his full-arm cast off.

While the cast will come off in about two weeks, Joe’s family still has to figure out how to pay hefty medical bills.

Car club hosts car wash for boy hit by stray bullet

Community members are coming together to relieve some of the medical expenses for 6-year-old Joe Pena, who was hit by a stray bullet on the Fourth of July.

Flores said he immediately wanted to help when he heard about what had happened to Joe.

Flores previously organized car wash benefits for Aaron Martinez, a 17-year-old boy who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car wreck on June 2, and Freddie Castillo, a Victoria man battling cancer.

“I saw it in the paper and it kind of touched my heart,” Flores said about Joe’s story. “I sit at home and read these things in the newspaper and it just hurts me to see these families go through this stuff and if that was me, I would want someone to help.”

Ashley Gonzales, Joe’s mother, said she cried when Flores asked her if he could host a fundraiser for her son.

“I didn’t expect anyone to do something like that for him,” she said. “It was a really big shock.”

All drivers are welcome to donate anything they can at the car wash, Flores said.

“We just hope the folks come out to help this little boy and his family,” he said.

Kali Venable is a public safety reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

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Public Safety Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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