The 9-year-old boy who was shot Monday by his teacher’s estranged husband at an elementary school in San Bernardino, California, is on the road to recovery, his family says.
In a statement released Wednesday via the school district, Nolan Brandy’s parents identified him as one of the victims struck by gunfire Monday morning while standing near his special education teacher Karen Elaine Smith inside her classroom at North Park Elementary School.
Nolan’s family also shared a photo of him smiling in his hospital bed.
The boy was originally listed in critical condition after the shooting and was rushed by ambulance to a local hospital. But his parents, Leon and Rachel Brandy, said in their statement that he is healing well.
Officials previously said Nolan was “up and watching cartoons.”
Police said Smith’s husband, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, walked into her classroom armed with a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber magnum revolver and opened fire — injuring Nolan and killing Smith and another student, 8-year-old Jonathan Martinez.
Anderson then turned his gun on himself.
The two students were not targeted by Anderson and were hit because of their proximity to Smith, according to authorities.
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“We are grateful,” Nolan’s parents said in their statement. “Please continue to pray for him and also for Jonathan Martinez’s and Karen Smith’s families.”
A school official tells PEOPLE Nolan will likely be moved out of the intensive care unit at the local Loma Linda University Medical Center in the next few days.
“He would remain in the hospital but not in ICU,” says San Bernardino City Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Garcia. “He is making a slow, steady recovery.”
Garcia says Nolan is lucky to be alive.
“I understand it was a through-and-through bullet wound that missed every vital organ and every major artery,” she says. “He is very fortunate. He is an amazing young man.”
A GoFundMe was created Thursday to cover “our hero” Nolan’s medical expenses.
Garcia says that North Park students will return to school on Monday — but not to room B1, where the shooting occurred. “We will make sure there is no student access to the area,” she says.
At least a “handful” of parents have decided to not return to the school, she says.
The school also plans to have a “low-key” law enforcement presence: “On Monday morning, when they were evacuated, they were surrounded by law enforcement,” Garcia says. “We had more than 150 officers.”
“We have been advised that a high[ly] visible presence could trigger some of the children to be afraid,” she continues, “so it will be a very low-key, but a good, police presence.”