Wife, brother speak of sailor recovering after being shot

33-year-old now responsive in hospital, family says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been more than two weeks since police said a robbery suspect shot a local sailor.

Brett Parks tried to stop 22-year-old Courtney Phillips as he ran way, according to police.

Parks is still in the hospital fighting for his life and most recently had to have part of his leg amputated to allow him to survive.

Parks' wife and brother spoke Thursday, saying their loved one is now more responsive. They said that for the first time Thursday, he was able to communicate with his family.

"It's just eye communication, which is enough for us, we'll take it," said Susan Parks, Brett's wife.

She said her husband blinked to let her know he was there. It was that small moment that Susan said she's been waiting weeks for.

"We saw Brett and we know he's with us, and that's what we needed," she said. "And now we're just looking forward to when we can have a conversation again."

Brett has been in a medically induced coma since Oct. 17, when he was shot in the stomach at an apartment complex. Witness said Brett was trying to stop the suspect from getting away.

Susan said that with a daughter on the way next month and 16-month-old son at home, family life has changed dramatically.

"He does feel the absence of his father at the house, and our routine, our bedtime routine and our daily simple life has been turned upside down," she said.

In the hospital, Brett's had numerous surgeries, the latest, to amputate part of his right leg because of an infection.

"That day was tough because that was, it was just so permanent," said Derek Parks, Brett's brother. "But like Susan said, we just had to do it, and we're excited to see Brett just get back healthy."

In the days since that surgery, doctors say Brett is improving, a far cry from the days doctors told his family Brett shouldn't be alive.

But Susan knows her husband's a fighter.

"I'm just so grateful, and it's just my husband's true colors coming out, so I expect him to keep fighting and come home soon," she said.

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