Jimmy Martinez said it was his dog that saved his life earlier this month after he was shot.
“If it wasn’t for the dog, I wouldn’t be here,” he told KPIX-TV in early December.
Martinez, 54, an auto mechanic, had been shot in the hand in a dispute over a parking space with a truck driver on Dec. 4. The dog, Chata, also was shot in the nose as it ran toward the trucker and scared him off.
But in a tragic turn of events, Martinez died on Friday after being shot again while recovering from the earlier bullet wound, KPIX reports.
And this time around, Chata couldn’t be there to help him.
Around 9:30 p.m. Friday, an unknown assailant shot Martinez outside of his recreational vehicle in East Oakland after a heated argument, according to the television station. Police are investigating whether a disgruntled customer pulled the trigger in the most recent shooting.
People who live in the area say Martinez was a kind and quiet man who was happy to help anyone in need of a repair or vehicle tow. He was known around the neighborhood as “the mayor,” the East Bay Times reports.
Some heard the gunshots.
“I was about to eat and watch TV, and I heard like 10 shots,” said Marvin Morris, who lives nearby.
Duncan Burns, who also heard numerous bangs, said Chata couldn’t come to the rescue this time because the pup was confined and still recovering from being injured earlier this month.
“His dog is a super dog, wonder hero,” Burns said. “The dog was locked in the house, couldn’t get out to help.”
Police do not believe the two shootings are linked. Witnesses say that hours prior to the second shooting, one of Martinez’s customers demanded a refund for a repair job that he or she felt was inadequate.
“They had a little argument, a confrontation for about 5 to 10 minutes. And then, the other gentleman drove off very angry,” said Hyo Song, who works near the shooting scene.
Martinez’s sister, Diane, is now carrying for Chata. She told the television station that the dog cried all night following Martinez’s death. When Martinez was first shot, Diane said she was grateful that Chata helped defend her brother.
“If it wasn’t for Chata, I wouldn’t be standing here,” she had said. “I would be planning a funeral for my brother.”
PALS East Bay, an animal support group, hopes that someone will eventually adopt Chata. She is described as a “sweet dog, but shy right now that she is recovering from trauma,” according to the Times. Those interested in adopting Chata can email PALS East Bay at email@example.com.
The organization also has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical bills.
Authorities are offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the capture of Martinez’s killer. To report information on the case, call 510-238-3821 or Crime Stoppers at 510-777-8572.
[Feature Photo: Chata and Jimmy Martinez/Facebook]