When his father died of a heroin overdose, an embittered Roman Gutierrez vowed to do the same.
“I’m gonna stick a needle in my arm, God,” he uttered, as quoted in the biography Twice Dead. “The same way You killed my father, You can kill me.”
At age 11, he fulfilled the vow and jabbed his arm.
Roman grew up on San Antonio’s west side, where drugs and violence were pervasive, the child of a broken home. He was sexually abused at age seven. He became a fighter and a partier who lived recklessly because he hated life.
The rage following his dad’s death was only compounded by the fact that he received the news when his dad was supposed to pick him up for some father-son time. His was a life void of love.
His first arrest came when he and friends broke into a local convenience store late at night to steal alcohol. Since they heard no alarm, they carted off case after case. Eventually, a patrol car pulled up and nabbed the youngsters.
While in juvenile hall, he busted a kid’s nose for mocking his father’s death and seven months were added to the original six-month sentence.
Read the rest of the story and his conversion here.