PORTLAND (AP) — A teen who survived the Dec. 11 shooting at an Oregon shopping mall says she didn't realize the gun that shot her was real until bullets started whizzing past.
KPTV shared Saturday 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenko's perspective on what happened that day, when two other people died.
The teen was walking home from school and took a shortcut through the Clackamas Town Center.
When she heard the first shots, she hid behind a pillar with her best friend, but when she looked down, she realized she had been shot in the chest.
"I did feel a huge amount of pressure and pain but honestly it feels like -- you can't describe what it feels like," she said.
She says she initially thought Jacob Roberts, who was dressed in black and wearing a mask, was pulling a prank.
The teen struggles with why she survived and two others died.
"It is hard to think that, why should they have to be the ones that weren't able to run away. They were just passing by like all other people, why should it be that they have to be the ones that didn't get away," Shevchenko said.
When asked about the man who shot her, she harbors no hate. Instead she's hoping to remind others just how precious life is.
"He might have had a hard life, I don't know what his life was like or his reasons for doing what he did. I can't exactly blame him. It only shows how prepared we have to be, and how we have to cherish every moment because you never know when it could be the last," Shevchenko said.
The Shevchenkos expressed their condolences to the families of Steve Forsyth and Cindy Yuille and thanked the community for its continued support.
Her father says it's a miracle that she survived. He says Kristina is the family's Christmas gift.