CHANDLER, AZ — An Arizona tattoo artist is being credited by a co-worker for saving her life after an “ambush” attack outside a salon studio.
Still recovering in the hospital, Rico Bush relied on oxygen to help him breathe so he could voice what happened to him outside the Phenix Salon Suites in Chandler last week.
“Being able to sit up on my own, I can't do that now,” said Bush from his hospital bed.
Rico is a tattoo artist at the Phenix Salon Suites, a cluster of salon and beauty shops near Chandler Blvd and Loop 101.
At the end of the day last week, Rico walked one of his co-workers out to her car. He says he noticed a few cars in the parking lot that looked strange, so he told his co-worker to quickly get in hers.
Moments later, Rico says they were ambushed by three people with one of the attackers banging on his co-worker’s window while others tried to block her in with their car.
“She is terrified, terrified. She's yelling like, 'Rico help!' I'm like, 'get out of here. Go!’” he said.
She was able to get away but during the struggle Rico was shot in the wrist and the stomach, severely damaging his intestines.
“It was like, what if she went out alone?” said Rico, fearing the worst for his friend.
Chandler police tell us the call initially came in as a domestic violence situation.
Still, no arrests have been made as of Tuesday night as officers sort out exactly what happened.
We caught up with Rico’s co-worker who didn't want to disclose her identity but just wanted to thank Rico for saving her.
She said she thought she was going to die.
“My son would have grown up without ever knowing his mom. God blessed me as not only knowing you as a co-worker, (but) as a friend,” she said with a quiver in her voice, thankful that she could spend the holidays with her family.
A few days ago, Rico was able to get some of his oxygen tubes removed.
He, too, is looking forward to seeing his 2-year-old son once he is healthy enough. His son is staying with his fiancé’s family in the meantime.
“I wouldn't let (my son) FaceTime me with the tubes in my nose. I wouldn't let him see me like that,” said Rico holding back tears.
He's covered in medical bandages and stitches now, but Rico says he has a tattoo he lives by on his stomach that reads, “only the strong survive.”
“Being shot in that area, it's like, you go this tattoo for a reason. You have to keep pushing,” said Rico.
A crowdfunding account has been set up for Rico’s medical expenses.