gofundme Baron Li (right)
Baron Li should not have survived.
The morning of July 10, the devoted father's life changed forever as he stepped out his front door, into a hail of bullets. The target of an alleged hit, Li was shot nine times, and police in Washington State allege the teenage gunman had been hired by Li's ex-wife.
Li tells PEOPLE he was shot in both arms, both legs, his left hip, and chest. Today, after months of intense physical rehabilitation, Li is back on his feet. But he's only able to walk a maximum of 30 minutes before requiring a break.
"This was nothing I deserved, and nothing my children deserved, either," the father of three says.
As miraculous as Li's survival was, he now needs another miracle. Since the shooting and his subsequent recovery, Li was laid off from his job of 10 years as a sales manager at a Toyota dealership in Burien. Months ago, his Family and Medical Leave Act pay dried up, and the state's Crime Victims Compensation fund only covers up to $15,000 in lost wages — money that's already gone to rent and other expenses.
With no income amid a pandemic, a friend of Li's launched a GoFundMe campaign for him and his children, one of whom has special needs.
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"One of the reasons why I'm still fighting is so my children don't feel like things are really bad, you know," says Li. "I try to be as optimistic around them as possible."
Li's ex, Shaerin Kelley, remains in custody after being charged with attempted murder.
Bellevue Police allege that Kelley promised to pay two 17-year-olds, Joseph Good and Quincy Mendez, $13,000 to kill her ex-husband. Good and Quincy are also charged as adults with attempted murder.
None of the three defendants has entered pleas to the charges, and their attorneys have not responded to calls for comment.
Li tells PEOPLE he was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with his ex over his youngest son, Arik – the only child he had with Kelley.
According to Li, Arik, 6, suffered brain damage as a result of medical negligence. The couple sued, and money from a court settlement was placed into a trust fund for their son.
Again, Li's GoFundMe page can be accessed here.