An injured teenage victim of the deadly shooting at an Oregon college is expected to recover from a bullet that ended up lodged in her kidney, but she faces "a long road," her family said Saturday.
At 16 years old, Cheyeanne Fitzgerald, is the youngest victim ofThursday’s shootingat Umpqua Community College, her mother Bonnie Schaan, told reporters outside of the hospital where Fitzgerald is recovering after having a kidney removed.
Nine people were killed and nine others, including Fitzgerald, were injured when 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer opened fire in a classroom at the school. Authorities said Saturday that Mercer killed himself during an exchange of gunfire with officers who responded to the scene.
"We’re blessed beyond belief that Cheyeanne is here today,” said her aunt, Colleen Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald said the 16-year-old, who was in her fourth day of a nursing program at Umpqua, is "starting to remember things" from when terror broke out in her classroom.
"It’s going to be a very long road obviously physically, but mentally," Fitzgerald said. "She’s jumpy ... when she hears a loud noise."
Schaan said her daughter recounted that she got down on the floor during the shooting and encouraged her friend, Ana Boylan, to do the same. The two teenagers played dead.
"She’s mentioned to me about all the blood," Schaan added.
Schaan said her daughter also told her that the gunman chose one male student to stand in a corner of the classroom. The gunman told that person, "you’re going to be the lucky one" before giving him an envelope, Schaan said her daughter told her.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin refused to comment during a news conference Saturday about any such envelope.
Schaan said Fitzgerald is having "tough times" as more details about the horrific scene flood into her memory.
Cheyeanne's family set up a gofundme account to help pay for her treatment. Another account for Army veteran Chris Mintz, who is credited with trying t protect others during the rampage and was shot seven times, made a request for $10,000 and more than $690,000 was donated by Saturday.
"Healing is going to be slow, but I know my daughter’s very strong and she’s going to get through this," she said.