LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- With scars on her left arm and a long line of stitches all the way up her right arm, Whitney Austin went in front of the camera and back in time to Sept. 6.
The mother of two left home and drove to Cincinnati for a meeting at the Fifth Third Center that morning.
“Believe it or not, there were people on Fountain Square telling me don’t go into that building,” Austin recalled. “Sort of waving at me.”
That didn’t register with her and neither did another warning sign.
“There is a hole in the door and a bunch of shattered glass.”
The very second Austin pushed through the revolving doors she says she was shot immediately.
As she lay there, coughing up blood, Austin tried to call her husband.
“When I moved is when he shot me again.”
She says she got angry at that point.
“Are you kidding me, why did you do that?” Austin said was going through her mind. “Just play dead, just play dead.”
Austin thought she really was going to die, but found hope when police arrived.
Without hesitation, officers returned fire through the building windows, killing the gunman, Omar Perez. He had shot five people, killing three.
“Everybody I saw, you can ask the paramedics, you can ask the cops, you can ask the firemen, you can ask the nurses, the doctors,” Austin said with tears in her eyes, “I told every single one of them, I am a mother to a five and seven-year-old and they need me so you need to save me.”
Six days after surgeries and treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Austin came home.
With the help of therapy, both physical and psychological, she expects to make a full recovery.
She also wants to help, launching “Whitney Strong.”
Austin’s plan is to raise money for research and marketing with the goal of passing stronger laws to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.