Man shot in face Saturday faces months in hospital

martinhanacropped_t593.jpgSAN DIEGO — A 23-year-old man who was shot in the face Saturday at an El Cajon-area drive-through restaurant has undergone 14 surgeries and is improving at Sharp Memorial Hospital, his family said Tuesday.

Martin Hana, the ninth of 12 children in an Iraqi immigrant family, is awake and able to write simple notes to visitors but hasn’t been able to speak, said his sister Sarah Hana, 18.

“He will need more surgery,” she said. “He needs two or three months in the hospital.”

Hana, whose name initially was spelled Hanna by authorities, was shot at an In-N-Out Burger by Dejon White, 23, who then led police on a 100-mph freeway pursuit and fatally shot a San Diego police officer in City Heights. Police said officers killed White in a barrage of gunfire as he raised a shotgun at them while driving down 48th Street, away from his apartment.

San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne called the slaying of Officer Jeremy Henwood, 36, “an assassination,”

Investigators are still looking for motives into why White shot Hana and the officer.

Sarah Hana said her brother has worked at odd jobs, including a few months for the Army through a private contractor to help teach soldiers about the Iraqi people, customs and languages. He and their father also play traditional music at weddings and other events at their church, St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in Rancho San Diego.

Their parents, Martin and some siblings came to El Cajon from Iraq in 2006, while others in the family immigrated in other years, Sarah Hana said.

Hana was with two women at the In-N-Out on North Magnolia Avenue, sheriff’s Lt. Larry Nesbit said Tuesday. Hana’s sister said he dated both women but didn’t know at first that the women were good friends.

Authorities have said a security video showed Hana and one woman walk out of the restaurant and get into his silver Mitsubishi Eclipse. A man, later identified as White, got out of a black Audi parked a few spots from the Eclipse, walked up to Hana with a shotgun and fired one round at his face at 5:22 p.m.

The woman in the car was not injured, Nesbit said. The other woman who had been with Hana was a short distance away.

Nesbit said there were many witnesses to the shooting.

“People had no idea what was going on,” he said. “They had no idea if he (White) was going to keep shooting. Some were on cellphones and they dropped them so he wouldn’t think they were calling for help. Several did call 911.”

Nesbit said investigators are “still trying to nail down a motive” and have more interviews to conduct.

Minutes after Hana was shot, an El Cajon police officer unaware of the assault saw a black Audi speeding west on Interstate 8. He went in pursuit but was called off when the Audi’s speed topped 100 mph. The car was last seen going south on state Route 15.

At 5:32 p.m., a woman used Henwood’s police radio to report that an officer had been shot on University Avenue at 45th Street in City Heights.

The woman and her parents, who have asked not to be named, were in a truck behind the Audi. A baby also was in the truck, police said. The woman’s father told 10News that he got out and directed traffic while his daughter tended to Henwood. She used first aid that she learned in the Navy as a military police officer, he said.

“It was something worthwhile. It would’ve been more worthwhile had the officer survived,” he told 10News, the Union-Tribune’s media partner.

Police said Henwood had been driving east on University when a driver who behind him flashed his headlights. The officer pulled over and a black Audi drew alongside. The driver raised a shotgun and fired, hitting Henwood in the left side of his face.

Half an hour later, police saw a man on 48th Street carry a shotgun to a black sedan and start driving. Police said seven officers opened fire, killing White. Henwood died early Sunday morning.

Police homicide Capt. Jim Collins said Tuesday that White left behind a rambling suicide note that offered no insight into the rampage.

Hana’s sister said he was in surgery Saturday night until 10 the next morning. Doctors told the family he may lose 10 percent of his vision in one eye, his nose was badly injured and several of his teeth were broken.

“It burns my heart to see him at the hospital,” Sarah Hana. “He loves singing and dancing. We don’t know if his throat will be OK.”

She said her brother plays drums and their father plays flute at church celebrations. Martin was planning to sing at an older brother’s November wedding and was thinking of going to barber school.

“We thank God he is still alive,” she said. “We have faith that he’s going to get better.”