ADELANTO  (CBSLA)  —  A young father is lucky to be alive after he was shot three times by men he said were attempting to break into his car early Tuesday morning.

“One in the arm. Two shots in the ribs and they didn’t puncture a lung so, I am very thankful for that.”

The Adelanto man, who requested he be identified as “John” said that he was sleeping Tuesday at around 2:40am when his sister woke him up to say she saw three men through the window trying to break into their car.

“I started chasing after them,” John told KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock.

When he yelled out to the men to stop, he says one of them turned and began shooting.

“It felt more like a large bean bag exploded in my chest,” he said.

After the bullets lodged in ribs, he says he hid behind a car, at which point more bullets began sailing across the street, shattering car windows and blazing a hole into the side of his house.

In retrospect, he realizes that he put himself in danger by chasing after strangers in the dark.

“I probably should have stayed inside,” he said. “It’s always been my character to try to help people out,”

John says he was just looking out for his neighbors and their property, but he ended up being airlifted to a local hospital.

Because it was so dark Tuesday morning, there is only a vague description of the suspects. Deputies say they could be African American or Hispanic males in their early 20s, wearing dark T-shirts and shorts.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is now investigating the initial call for the car break-in as an attempted murder.

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