Lt. Col. Karl Trenker, a U.S. Marine veteran shot several times by a Craigslist buyer on Dec. 21, had to uses his fingers to plug his bullet wounds.
Police told ABC News' Miami affiliate WPLG-TV that Trenker's military background possibly saved his life. He is now recovering at a Florida hospital.
Thank God that I'm here, Trenker told the TV station from his hospital bed. I could very easily not have survived this.
Reports are that the 48-year-old veteran had an arrangement to meet with a Craigslist buyer in Miramar calling himself Galven.
Trenker believed the man was interested in purchasing a men's chain necklace that his fiancée, Tanya Saiz, had posted on Craigslist.
When Trenker arrived at the meeting area, he realized that it was not in a well-populated plaza, but an apartment complex. He met two men outside day and showed them the necklace.
But Trenker said one of the men took the necklace and started running.
I said, 'Listen, we can just drop this now. You set that thing on the ground, walk away, we're done. Police are going to be on their way in a minute,' Trenker told the ABC News affiliate about the incident.
Trenker chased the men several blocks in order to get the necklace back.
A Broward County Sheriff's Office police report reviewed by the media noted that one of the suspects, Jeff Steele, turned and fired several shots at Trenker.
Trenker said he knew he had been shot, but not how many times.
I felt the one go into my chest and then one through my abdomen, he said.
Broward County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella told ABC that Trenker was shot three or four times and shot at a few more.
I put my finger in the bullet holes, the big ones, and then I ran back to the car and I made sure the kids were OK and I told them, 'Listen, Dad's been shot. There's an ambulance already on the way,' Trenker said.
The 911 tapes in the incident have been released and callers seemed to be confused what exactly took place.
One caller told 911 that there was a shooting and that he saw Trenker jumped out of his truck chasing them. He said he heard at least 10 shots.
Y'all gotta hurry that truck is still there, the caller said. He thought Trenker was the shooter.
A second caller told 911 that there was a guy that got shot in the chest.
That caller told 911 that Trenker was walking toward his children and the emergency responder asked if he knew how old the victim was. The caller asked Trenker how old he was and told 911 responder 49.
That caller told 911 that he saw the men shooting at Trekner.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Trekner was robbed just before 3:30 p.m. at Tivoli Gardens apartments. It is a large subdivision in the 600 block of Siesta Key Circle, the paper quoted the sheriff's report.
The Sentinel also reported that Steele and James Flounory, the men accused of robbing Trenker at gunpoint, are both 20 years old. They were both arrested that day in connection to one count each of attempted murder and robbery with a firearm, the Sheriff's Office told the Sentinel.
There was also a third suspect, Andre Gayle, 20, who was arrested on the charge of carrying a concealed firearm. He's accused of hiding the firearm after the incident.
Four of Trenker's seven children were in the car and saw the alleged robbery and the chase. They didn't see the shooting, according to reports.
He called me and said, 'Honey, I've been shot,' Saiz told WPLG. I nearly fainted. He saved my life. That would have been me.
Saiz said she was the one who originally planned to meet the potential buyer.
Trenker recently returned from an Iraq duty tour.
I can't believe this. I go to Iraq, I go to Afghanistan and here I am at home, shot, Trenker said. It's inconceivable. I don't know how that they can put so little value on life.