Elder M. Michael Fauber, a full-time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was seriously injured in a Dec. 3 unprovoked shooting near Birmingham, Alabama, was discharged from UAB Hospital in Birmingham and returned to his Dayton, Ohio, home Tuesday, Dec. 21.
His parents, David and Rachel Fauber of the Kettering Ward in the Dayton Ohio Stake, released a statement of appreciation, acknowledging their son and those involved. Two photos of the missionary’s return home accompanied the Wednesday, Dec. 22, statement.
“We can’t begin to express how grateful we are to all who have offered kind thoughts, charitable acts and sincere prayers on our behalf. We will never forget the staff of the UAB Medical Center who cared for Michael with incredible diligence and skill. Michael’s survival and recovery has been a literal miracle.
“Just as we continue to pray for a full recovery for our son, we pray for healing for the young men accused in this crime and hope that the time will come when they will become a great credit to their families and community.”
The Faubers’ statement concluded: “Above all, we are thankful for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate this week. He saved our son, and for this we will be eternally grateful. We wish you all a Merry Christmas!”
Read more: Parents of missionary who was shot in Alabama are grateful for blessings and ‘sense of peace’
Elder Fauber was released as a full-time missionary the evening he returned home to Dayton.
After he was shot multiple times on Dec. 3., he was rushed to UAB Hospital in Birmingham and was in serious but stable condition for more than a week, while slowly improving.
Police have arrested two suspects in their investigation of the shooting, who entered a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse for an activity and started shooting before fleeing in a vehicle.
On Friday evening, Dec. 3, Elder Fauber was in the Birmingham Alabama Stake Center in Vestavia Hills with two other missionaries and a group of people interested in learning more about the Church. As part of a weekly athletic activity, basketball was being played in the cultural hall.
Alabama Birmingham Mission President Chad W. Allred told the Faubers that seconds before the 8:30 p.m. incident their son testified “to the young man who ended up shooting him about the Savior and about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.”
The individual had entered the gymnasium and played a couple of basketball games with the group. Then, unprovoked, the gunman — who hadn’t been seen by witnesses at any previous weekly activity at the building — started shooting before fleeing in a vehicle. No one else was injured.
The family expressed appreciation earlier to the other missionaries at the scene who administered first aid and a priesthood blessing to the fallen elder. “They knew what to do to help kind of stop the bleeding and help him make it to the hospital,” David Fauber said.
Elder Fauber underwent three surgeries over as many days to address his injuries, which could have been fatal.
Elder Fauber was hit by four bullets in the shooting. “Two of the bullets struck him in the right side of his chest,” David Fauber said. “If they would have been on the left side, they would have hit his heart, and that would have been the end of that.”
Also, doctors were stumped for several days about a scratch on the missionary’s head, knowing he hadn’t hit his head after being shot and going to the ground. Closer examination revealed Monday that it was a fifth bullet that had just grazed the head, David Fauber said.
“If that had been a couple of inches over, that would have been fatal as well.”