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Sarah Salazar 1 Year After Almost Dying In Santa Fe, Texas, Shooting at School: NPR



Sarah Salazar was 16 when a gunman walked to her Santa Fe, Texas, classroom and changed her life forever.

Allison Hess for NPR


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Allison Hess for NPR

Sarah Salazar was 16 when a gunman walked to her Santa Fe, Texas, classroom and changed her life forever.

Allison Hess for NPR

5 am, and Sarah Salazar will be more sleep. Not just because it's early. Or because she is a teenager and can not seem to be asleep enough. The doctors said that the shotgun holes embedded in his shoulder, the lungs and back sent his lead levels upward and lost his exhausted most of the time.

His injury also caused Sarah to do even simple tasks, such as bathing. Her home, in the small town of Santa Fe, Texas, has a shower for six women – Sarah, her mother and four siblings – so she now wakes ahead, before others, to take her time in the shower.

Later, in her room, Sarah took a shirt for the day – though not her favorite navy top with a thin white stripe. The wide, open neckline is so wide now, too open, too revealing. Sarah's younger sister, Sonya, helps her spin her bra.

At 6:20 am, Sarah goes to school with her best friend Emma Lovejoy, and Emma's grandmother in their Jeep Wrangler. Unlike his sisters, Sarah, now a junior, is no longer riding a bus at Santa Fe High School. Not because he did not get the bus on May 18, 2018 – the day that changed his life forever. Police said it was the day of a 17-year-old student carrying a Remington 870 shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol in Sarah's art classroom. He killed eight students and two teachers and injured 13 others, including Sarah.

This is his story – the story of a teenager's long, slow struggle, physical and emotional, to rebuild his life after a school shooter almost took it from him.

May 18, 2018

Satellite imagery of Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, about 35 miles southeast of Houston.

ScapeWare3d / DigitalGlobe / Getty Images


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ScapeWare3d / DigitalGlobe / Getty Images

Satellite imagery of Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, about 35 miles south of Houston.

ScapeWare3d / DigitalGlobe / Getty Images

When shooting began, Sarah, then 16, was the last person to hide inside the supply chamber of her art room. His classmates try to block the door, but the gunman can still see them through a small window at the door. He is aiming his gun in glass and fire.

Small lead pellets explode in the closet. Sarah's neck, left shoulder and leg were reached. She falls to the floor and, strives to stay calm, reaching out to a classmate.

Trenton Beazley was also hit, behind. The sophomore catcher in the baseball team feels a peak and turns. In dark light he will see a girl bleeding badly from her neck and shoulders, her long black hair on her face. Sarah asks for help.

Trenton took Sarah's jacket from her lap and tied it with a tourniquet around her shoulder to stop bleeding. She does not remember thinking about it.

"Unlike you do something like this, more like a natural tendency, you look below, and you see something that you think might work," Trenton said later.

Before he shot, Sarah was praying for God to protect everything in the closet.

After he shot, he called on God again:

Here I am. If you're ready to take me home, I'm not afraid. But if you want to let me stay, that's fine.

Students are waiting more than half an hour to stop the shot and for help to arrive.

Emergency crews gather at the Santa Fe High School parking lot after the shooting.

Daniel Kramer / AFP / Getty Images


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Daniel Kramer / AFP / Getty Images

Emergency crews appear at Santa Fe High School parking after shooting.

Daniel Kramer / AFP / Getty Images

Sarah's mother, Sonia Lopez, said her own prayers as soon as she heard that there was a shot at her daughters' school. He's trying to get to Santa Fe High but, at a scheduled meeting point, Sarah needs to wait for her to come back.

The bus after bus reunites students with their families. Sarah did not come.

"Lord, Sarah will be with you, she's good," Lopez prayed over and over again.

Dr. Brandon Low was on call when Sarah was taken to the hospital. Experiencing the treatment of gunshot trauma, Sara says the wounds are so devastating because she was shot in the near set with a powerful weapon on a weak part of her body.

Allison Hess for NPR


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Allison Hess for NPR

Dr. Brandon Low was on call when Sarah was taken to the hospital. Experiencing the treatment of gunshot trauma, Sarah says that wounds are so severe that she was shot close to a powerful weapon in a weak part of her body.

Allison Hess for NPR

Then came the word: Sarah was taken and taken to HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake. The blast caused severe bleeding on Sarah's neck. Doctors decided that repairing two damaged veins was very dangerous, so they divided the ends instead.

In Lopez, all of this is a blessing.

"I know that the Lord was there [Sarah] because he called him, and he answered that he might not have seen him, but I knew he was protected because none of his vital organs were touched. whole, "said Lopez.

However, it requires back-to-back emergency repair to boost Sarah. Dr. Brandon Low, the orthopedic surgeon on call, reviews scans and knows that it is a devastating injury.

"The joint on which the shoulder meets the socket is destructive – almost invisible to X-rays, it's in many pieces," says Low.

Patients were treated more often and said that Sarah's injury was a triple hit: shot in a close range with a strong weapon on a weak part of her body.

An X-ray taken before the emergency surgery of Sarah's breast. "The joint in which the shoulder meets the socket is destroyed – almost invisible to X-rays, it is in many pieces," Low, the orthopedic surgeon calls on the day of the shooting, says.

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Allison Hess for NPR

An X-ray taken before the emergency surgery of Sarah's breast. "The joint in which the shoulder meets the socket is just destroyed – barely visible even in X-rays, it is in many pieces," Low, the orthopedic surgeon calls the day of shooting, says.

Allison Hess for NPR

The surgeon joins the rest of the trauma team in the operating room and begins removing the unusual body tissues to prevent infection. They also remove many pellets they can, as well as fragments from the shell itself, before sewing up the wound.

Almost a month later, Sarah would have a complete shoulder replacement.

SUMMER [19659059] Jai Gillard, in the class where the mass shot began, looks at the cross for Sabika Sheikh, a student exchange from Pakistan, before signing a memorial for the victim of shooting Santa Fe High School in Texas.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images


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Jai Gillard, who was in the class where the mass shot began, was looking at the cross for Sabika Sheikh, a student exchangeer from Pakistan, before signing a memorial for Santa Fe High shooting victims School in Texas.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP / Getty Images

Sarah's hospital room was filled with balloons, flowers and guests. Pop star Justin Timberlake promised his tickets at his upcoming Houston show. NFL star J.J. Watt paid for the visit. "Santa Fe Strong" starts with appearances in T-shirts and billboards throughout South Texas.

Doctors need to wear Sarah's mouth so that her fractured jaw gets healed, limiting her diet to chicken broth and applesauce. His best friend, Emma, ​​visits almost every day. They play cards and watch Netflix. At first, Emma was surprised how much Sarah had become a neck – "like a marshmallow plant," she says.

Seventeen days after the shooting, Sarah was released and transferred back to the house of her mother's three rooms. Even though his jaw was still wired, he started supplementing his limited diet with baby at Flamin & # 39; Hot Cheetos, his favorite snack. A little taste of his old life.

In July, he started a physical water therapy to exercise his new prostate shoulder and gained strength. In the water, Sarah felt better. Her arm is lighter and also painful.

In August, on the first day of study, Sarah did not hesitate to go back to the Santa Fe High class. She wants to focus on her junior year and prepare for college. His dream school is Texas A & M University at College Station. Her dream career: nurse anesthetist.

Sarah and her mother, Sonia Lopez, who said her strong faith was a source of strength last year.

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Allison Hess for NPR

Sarah and her mother, Sonia Lopez, who said her strong faith was a source of strength last year.

Allison Hess for NPR

Sarah's mother, Sonia Lopez, is concerned about re-entering her daughter. For one thing, how can he navigate the hallways of a school with 1,400 students?

"We fear that people will clash with him in the hallways, you know? And he's like," No, I can do it, I can do it. I do not need anyone who carries my books, & # 39; "says Lopez.

However, Sarah admits that eventually, returning is difficult at times. Whenever there is a knock in the classroom in the classroom, he should know who it is before he can continue his work. The new alarms on the doors are strong and his feelings are anxious.

In September, Sarah's mother and other unreleased families appeared before the Santa Fe school board. They publicly acknowledge their loved ones who have been killed and have a bell for each other. They recognize the 13 injured, including Sarah, even though the president of the board tries to block the group.

Lopez is alarmed that the board is too small to help the community recover and protect against future threats. At the foot, he pleads for the district.

"We need to show an example of it, so no matter what happens to my daughter does not happen again," she says, tears close to it.

At the packed audience,

FALL

"Santa Fe Strong" began appearing in Santa Fe and throughout South Texas as soon as possible after school shooting.

Allison Hess for NPR


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Allison Hess for NPR

"Santa Fe Strong" began appearing in Santa Fe and throughout South Texas soon after school shooting.

Allison Hess for NPR

On a happy Saturday night in October, a DJ is releasing a Mexican rancher and cumbia music between Bruno Mars and Miley Cyrus as dozens of people who are taking part in the community center of Runge Park Santa Fe.

This is not Sarah's party. This is his younger sister Sonya quinceañera, her 15th birthday birthday – a ceremony to pass on many Hispanic families. It is also the first time that their extended family circle and friends have had something to celebrate since the shooting.

Sarah came in late, taking the last of the wolves. She wears a short, no-clothes pink dress and a black crepe creep to cover the scar on her shoulder. His father, Nick Salazar, proudly walks him from the table to the table to greet family members and friends.

A picture of Sarah with her four sisters is inside their home in Santa Fe, Texas. Sarah's sisters are always sources of love, laughter and support since the shooting.

Allison Hess for NPR


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A picture of Sarah with her four sisters is inside their home in Santa Fe, Texas. Sarah's sisters are always sources of love, laughter and support since the shooting.

Allison Hess for NPR

"She looks happy," she said later. "It's good to see her smile and everything. I'm happy she's happy."

"Some of these people have met me by shooting," Lopez says as he serves rice, beans and cabbage on the sheep line of visitors.

Another survivor, Flo Rice, stopped his wife. The previous teacher instructed a mum and smile for a selfie with Sarah.

After the official dance and presentations, Sarah went out and took her black knee-toe. She is tired and thinking about going home early.

"It's a good distraction, it's beautiful," he said. "It's good to think of other things."

The truth is, many things are hard for Sarah. He could not lift the left hand to his waist. At his father's house, he could not reach the microwave to heat the ramen noodles. Also, her mother did not think her shoulder was cured for her to drive safely, so even though Sarah moved on November 17, she still hoped for someone to get close.

black hair with a ponytail without help.

Over the winter, Sarah's inner circle – her mother, four sisters and Emma – help her piece together in a new work. When the insurance company is delivering him a great blow, refusing to pay for any more water therapy sessions, his older sister, Suzannah, encouraged Sarah to do some home training. Her mother keeps track of medical appointments. Every morning, brother Sonya, who shares Sarah's room, helps her get dressed, while her two youngest sisters, Star and Sophya, teach Sarah's housework and help to feed on family pets.

Between all this work, there is still plenty of time for pleasure. The family hosts a regular Friday night game. And every night, Sarah will find comfort and disturbance with many family animals: four dogs, two cats, four parakeets, 11 fish, with a tortoise and a goat named Michelle. The goat should have dinner at quinceañera but now hangs in the backyard with a menagerie of chickens and ducks.

Sarah loves to snuggle in bed on her gray kitten or practice her Spanish by bingeing on her favorite telenovela, Sinos already

"Netflix is The cure, "he said with a smile.

"I feel as if he had slowly come to a new normal, new fun and stuff. But I did not say he was completely there," Emma said. "The type depends on the day, but ultimately, I feel that she is still processing, and she will continue."

WINTER

Every other week, Sarah came out of the school's advisory period to join a small group of therapy with some others affected by the shoot, talk of many. They only discussed that day twice.

Instead, they made arts and crafts. A Christmas wreath is now hanging on the door to the family's laundry room. A stone covered with magazine clippings sitting on Sarah's windowill. Sarah likes to create things in conversation. The art makes her happy.

"I do not know how the conversation about it will help me feel about it," he said.

But he knew, emotionally, he had a long walk. [19659118] Note reminders, big and small, will remain in Santa Fe a year later.

Allison Hess for NPR


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Allison Hess for NPR

Shot reminders, big and small, remain in Santa Fe a year later.

Allison Hess for NPR

"The school counselor coffers – I have a woman talking to me – she says that I keep my emotions up and down," Sarah says. "I do that, and so, emotionally, I have not come because I try to keep it myself."

Before the trauma, Sarah was quite quiet. But since May, it's hard for her best friend to know what's happening at times. And they know one from the first grade.

"He does what I do when I'm bothered with something – the type of placement in front of it that everyone thinks that everything is beautiful," Emma says. "But you know that there are things still disturbing him."

At school, remarks can trigger poor emotions. Sarah can not stand to hear students citing their weekend hunting plans – a frequent topic in this small Texas town. Even the moment of silence in his school holding every morning can be difficult.

"Sometimes they're like, & # 39; OK, stop at a moment of silence, & # 39; and I'm starting to pray.! & # 39; and I want, & # 39; -pause, & # 39; "Sarah says. For him, prayer is always a comfort "in the morning and in the evening and whenever I need someone."


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