A week after the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., one of the students wounded in the massacre has been released from the hospital and opened up about the harrowing experience with Inside Edition.
Samantha Fuentes, 18, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was shot in both legs and struck in the face with shrapnel. She currently has multiple stitches in her cheek, forehead and a bruise around her right eye.
The shrapnel entered the right side of her face and went up her cheek and behind her eye.
There are still fragments lodged near her eye. “It is behind the lobe of my eye,” she said. Fuentes said she is going to talk to a retinal specialist to discuss the next steps.
“Removing it can be a very difficult procedure to have but if [the shrapnel] doesn’t migrate than they won’t have to remove it because it’s sterile and it is a piece of hot metal,” she said.
She says she saw classmates on either side of her shot down.
“I ran forward because I panicked. Then I was in clear view of the window and of where the shooter was standing,” she recalled. “That is when he just started to spray the room.”
Fuentes said she got as low to the ground as she could in an effort to survive, saying, “Just one variable change and I could have easily died.”
The teenager admits she has survivor’s guilt, but is going to stand up for those who did not make it.
“My survival is important now more than ever because there is a face and there is a voice to what happened,” she said. “I think it is important for people to have a physical reminder of what it looks like. That is why I am showing my face. I am not very shameful of it at all because it is [the] truth.”
Four hospitalized students remain in fair condition.
The suspect, Nikolas Cruz has admitted to last week’s shootings, where 17 people were murdered, police say.
Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is representing Cruz, said the teen will likely plead guilty if prosecutors agree not to seek the death penalty.