(WSVN) - She was shot 17 times … and survived. 7’s Katrina Bush has her amazing “Survivor’s Story.”
She was doing what most of us do every day…
Danielle Howard, gun violence survivor: “I was texting on my phone. My phone was dying, so I went in my purse, and I got my charger out.”
It was early morning in the Little River area of Miami-Dade County. Danielle was waiting in a car for her sister.
Danielle Howard: “I was sitting there and I couldn’t see, so I turned the light on above to plug in my charger, and the truck just came to a halt.”
A white pickup truck sped around the corner and stopped. Two men got out with guns.
Danielle Howard: “I just heard glass shatter and I just heard bullets, just gunshots, and the only thing I could think of is, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t want to die.'”
The bullets kept flying, hitting Danielle 17 times.
Danielle Howard: “I seen my sister come to the door and she just ran out … as they still were shooting. The guys ran off and drove off.”
Danielle was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. She would not leave that hospital for six months.
Danielle Howard: “I was placed on a breathing tube, and I couldn’t eat for six months. I had a feeding tube because my stomach would not work. I couldn’t even drink water.”
The bullets that tore through her body did damage to her liver, lung, pancreas and colon. She had 13 surgeries.
Danielle Howard: “My arm, my elbow. I have one that was in and out here … I have a few here on my thigh.”
It has been almost two years since the shooting.
She has to wear a colostomy bag.
And her phone alarm reminds her throughout the day to take her many medications.
Despite all that, she is back driving and working.
She says the time spent fighting for her life actually made her stronger.
Danielle Howard: “I tell the other survivors, ‘Don’t let this be something that wears you down, tears you down and makes you feel like you’re different, you’re inferior to everyone. No. You’re powerful because you already survived this. You’re a survivor.'”
To this day, no one has been arrested for Danielle’s shooting.
Police told her she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They believe the shooters were teenagers who picked her at random as part of a gang initiation.
Danielle Howard: “Obviously, I’m meant to be here, I’m meant to live on, I’m meant to inspire people.”
Right now, Danielle tells her story on social media, but hopes to eventually start working with support groups to show victims and their families that they can get their lives back.
Danielle Howard: “I honestly feel like every time I hear a gun violence story, I kind of feel like I’m living on for the ones that did not make it. I feel like I’m living for them.”
One bit of good news — Danielle says her colon is healing, and that she’s a good candidate for a reverse colostomy in the future.
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