Cedar Rapids Shooting Victim Focuses on Recovery

By Addison Speck, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Cedar Rapids woman is working to stand and walk again after being shot and paralyzed from the waist down this past April. 22-year-old Shannon Gaskins was one of the three people injured in a shooting at the Kirkwood Court Apartments back on April 20th.

"I remember calling the 9-1-1 operator and saying, I need an ambulance, I was shot," said Gaskins, "After she got who I was and where I was, I just hung up on her because I couldn't breathe anymore."

Gaskins said after she was shot she rolled over on her stomach and realized she couldn't feel her legs. "I thought why aren't my legs working? I just thought I was in shock," she said. Gaskins has since been in a wheelchair. She said her hips and back always hurt and her legs feel numb. "If you ever have your hand fall asleep, that tingly irritating feeling, that is in my legs 24/7," she explained.

Just a few weeks after she was shot she sat up for the first time. "That was cool stuff," she recalled. Now, Gaskins works towards standing up. "If I could at least stand up, I would be so happy. It would be a lot easier, I'm telling you. Easier to get in a car, easier to get dressed," said Gaskins.

She said realizing that she can't do things as fast and learning that she might not walk again, was difficult. "There has been a lot of tears, happy moments and sad moments," Gaskins said. She said one of her biggest struggles is just getting dressed. What used to take here just a few minutes now takes 10 or 15. "I put one leg in, pull it up. I put another leg in, pull it up. Then I pull it up a little farther and wiggle and roll around. It's just so hard to get a pair of pants on these days," she said.

When it comes to what happened back in April, Gaskins still has some questions. "I just want to know why. Why me? I think I am a nice person and I don't think I could ever hurt anybody that bad," she said. "I wouldn't even want the people who shot me to get shot."

But Gaskins said she just tries to focus on recovery and being thankful she's still alive. "I'm here for a reason obviously, I don't know that reason yet, but I'm here. I didn't die for a reason," she said.

The three arrested in connection to the April 20th shooting are still awaiting trial. They are being held on several charges, including attempted murder.
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