Hernando teen shot in face meets man who ran to her aid

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A Hernando County teen finally got to meet the neighbor - and complete stranger - who rushed to her side after she was shot in the face.

Instead of running away, Emanuel Rivera saw a girl in need and came to her aid. Now, he and Brianna Goble will forever be connected by this traumatic event.

Three weeks ago, 18-year-old Brianna Goble was shot in the face by another teen.

Brianna was in the hospital for nine days. She’s home now but has to wear an immobilizing brace. Her mom, Karen Dove met Rivera Wednesday and described Brianna's injuries.

“As it went through her lip, it went through and tore part of her gums, shattered several of her teeth, burnt her tongue, and then went through her throat and out the back of her neck,” Karen said.

On the way out, the bullet fractured three of her vertebrae.          

Meeting Brianna has been on Emanuel’s mind for the last 20-days. He was one of the first people at the teen’s side after hearing the gunshot and screams. 

He stayed with Brianna and her younger brother, trying to comfort and calm them until first responders arrived.

"I couldn't be there and I’m just very gracious that he could be," said Karen.

It was a terrifying and terrible tragedy, and Emanuel was concerned for Brianna.

"I just really wanted to see how she was doing, I wanted to see if I had helped enough if I didn't,” he said.  “I just wanted to make sure she was okay.  I thought she was going to be okay when the accident happened, but I just had to know for myself."

So Wednesday night they met and they talked, sharing smiles and touching moments.

Emanuel says there were a lot of emotions during the hour-long visit, but above all, he feels hopeful.        

The alleged shooter, 17-year-old Christian Fitzgerald is behind bars for the violent attack. 

The entire community has wrapped its arms around Brianna and her family, rooting for the 18-year-old to heal mentally and physically.           

"These kinds of bills, these kind of medicines aren't going to pay for themselves, and to have one woman do it all by herself is going to be impossible, she needs as much help as she can get," Emanuel said.

A YouCaring.com page set up to help pay for Brianna’s recovery has raised nearly $9,500.