LAS VEGAS (CBSMiami) – A University of Florida law school student who was shot in the back as she ran for her life in Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas is thankful to be alive.READ MORE: Taste Of The Town: Sink Your Teeth Into Authentic Cuban Sandwiches At Sanguich de Miami
“I couldn’t believe at the time that it was a gun, and I didn’t want to,” said Kristin Babik.
Disbelief is the word she used to describe the momenyt she heard the first spray of bullets.
“There was even some people who yelled, ‘don’t worry, don’t worry. It’s nothing,’ she said. “Second time came around, more people started to realize what it was. And after the third time, we knew.”
Stephen Paddock, 64, fired down on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. Fifty nine people died in the attack, more than 500 were injured.
A bullet struck Babik, 24, between the vertebrae of her spine. Babik said she told her friend that at first it felt like she had been hit with a water balloon.
“I said that because after I was hit, I felt like a splatter or something wet drip down where I was hit. So I was like oh, maybe someone threw their drink or maybe someone’s just being silly,” she said.READ MORE: Davonte Barnes Charged In Mass Shooting Outside NW Miami-Dade Banquet Hall
It soon however dawned on her that she had been hit.
“I started running toward the back and I realized I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
Bleeding and fighting for air, Babik continued running along side her friend Joseph Ostunio.
“We made our way to a fence because the other exits were too full. There were people on the other side helping people get over. And someone caught me. And I was so scared. And they gave me the biggest hug. And they told me everything’s gonna be okay,” she said with tears beginning to well up in her eyes.
Babik was rushed by ambulance to the University Medical Center with broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Now in her third year at law school, Babik said she had one question for the doctor.
“I kept asking “am I gonna be okay? All I want to do is graduate law school.” When she told me the bullet was in my spine or close to it, then my second question was, “am I gonna be paralyzed? Am I gonna be able to walk again?” And she told me when I woke up after they put the tube in my chest, “you’re gonna graduate and you’re gonna be able to run a marathon. You’re gonna run again,” she said.MORE NEWS: CDC Backs Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots For Seniors, Some Others
Babik said surviving the shooting has renewed her sense of purpose to become a criminal prosecutor after she graduates in May.