Chilean students seek compensation: Three wounded Chileans return to Destin for lawsuit deposition


David Bilbao's native language is Spanish, and he does not speak fluent English. Log photographer Kathy Harrison translated for the interview.

Special to The Log
Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 02:16 PM.

Chilean citizen David Bilbao left Northwest Florida in 2009, a few months after a gunman wounded him and two of his friends, and killed two others. Now the three wounded survivors are seeking compensation for the damage done.

On Feb. 26, 2009, Dannie Baker fired shots into a townhome in Miramar Beach, where Bilbao and his friends, all Chilean citizens in Florida as part of a temporary work program for students, were talking. Nicholas Corp-Torres, 23, and Racine Argandona, 22, were killed. Francisco Cofre was shot in the head, and was in critical condition for an extended period before recovering. Sebastian Arizaga-Suarez and Bilbao were wounded.

The three returned to Destin last week to go before a court and seek compensation for their medical bills and emotional distress.

Bilbao said he drove by the townhome where the shooting occurred. It brought back emotions he hadn't felt in a long time, but he managed to hold his reactions in.

"It was very upsetting. I didn't cry because I was with my mom and son," Bilbao said. "That moment was very sad, but I also have a lot of memories of the people who helped me."

Bilbao was shot in the arm. After surgery in the U.S., he returned home to Chile, where he said he was unable to get the physical therapy he needed. In August of that year, Bilbao was lying on the floor at home. When he tried to push himself up, his arm broke in the spot where he had been shot.

"The bone was not completely fused together properly. From August to July, 2010, I had a cast on my arm," Bilbao said adding that in all that time, he didn't have health insurance.

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