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Shooting survivor's recovery described as miracle by brother

Rodriguez learns to walk again, continues to improve

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jeff Rodriguez is still in the hospital, but his brother, Santos Rodriguez, tells News 6 he is making tremendous progress. In fact, a month ago Tuesday, it didn't look like Jeff may have even made it.

"They said, 'Listen carefully, I need you to listen carefully, he's in very critical condition,'and we're like, 'Oh, gosh.'  When we saw him, we were like, 'Wow, he's really bad,'" said Santos Rodriguez.

"From that moment until now, is it almost like a miracle?" asked News 6 Eryka Washington.

"It is, it is a miracle from breathing tube, from not able to really move, just lay in bed, not opening your eyes much, not able to talk, to talking, joking, laughing, being with family, to eating normal foods, so yeah, it is a miracle,” said Rodriguez.

Jeff was shot four times as he was hiding in the bathroom at Pulse nightclub.

"Does he remember that night?" asked Washington.

"He remembers exactly detail by detail. What he went through, and then what he heard what he had seen, what he had to do," said Rodriguez.

That's when Jeff texted his brother telling him what happened, but Santos didn't believe him and now Jeff gives him a hard time about it.

"Yeah, that's one of the big stories there he gets furious with it, you didn't believe me, I’m dying in the bathroom and I’m telling you I love you, and my mind couldn't process the thought of him being shot like that, so that's why I didn't believe it," said Santos.

Jeff's had six surgeries, skin grafts, goes to rehab three times a day and is learning to walk again.

"Before, the right leg was paralyzed?" asked Washington.

“Yeah, it wasn't moving whatsoever, and now he's able to move it he is able to stand on it, he's able to walk so we're like all happy!" said Rodriguez.

It’s the outpouring of love that has really touched their family. Twenty-three thousand dollars were raised on Jeff’s GoFundMe page, and all of the messages and emails of support have helped, too.

"It’s kind of amazing to see how, not just the country, the world just getting together, may have not donated, but the prayers and shares and messages to see how he is doing, is more than enough, " said Rodriguez.

Santos says his brother loves hearing from people from as far as Australia just checking on him and wishing him a speedy recovery.

As long as Jeff keeps doing well, doctors say he should be able to go home in about two weeks.

Justin Warmoth is live at Pulse nightclub one month after 49 people lost their lives.

Posted by News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando on Tuesday, July 12, 2016