Cincinnati shooting survivor reflects on terror, thanks God
CINCINNATI (AP) — A man who was injured in a Cincinnati office building shooting that killed three others says he doesn’t know why he lived but that he’s “just happy to be here.”
Brian Sarver tells WPCO-TV he’s thankful in the wake of the Sept. 6 shooting at Fifth Third Bancorp headquarters. Officers killed 29-year-old Omar Enrique Santa Perez after Perez fatally shot three people and wounded Sarver and 37-year-old Whitney Austin.
Austin, a Fifth Third vice president, is recovering in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, from 12 gunshot wounds.
Sarver, a contractor, and colleague Rick Newcomer, also a contractor, were talking about a project when bullets hit them.
“We both realized, ‘Wow, we’ve just been shot. We’ve got to get away from this person,’” Sarver, 45, said.
Newcomer followed Sarver down a set of stairs, into the basement of the building and out through a secure exit. Sarver examined his injuries in disbelief as both men waited for paramedics.
Sarver’s wife, Lisa, was in Bible study when a groupmate received a news alert about the shooting. Lisa Sarver initially remained calm when her husband didn’t respond to her text messages because he’s usually busy with meetings.
“But as time went on, we were getting really worried and pretty upset,” added Lisa Sarver.
Sarver was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he had emergency surgery to have his spleen removed. Newcomer, 64, died from his wounds.
Sarver is now recovering at home. Part of the process includes trying to explain what happened to the couple’s three young children.
“We tried to talk to them and explain, obviously, in this world there is good and evil,” said Brian Sarver.
Police aren’t sure why Perez opened fire inside the building. Florida court records show family members had fought years ago to get him committed to a mental health facility.
Sarver is aware that he could have died in the shooting. The days following the shooting have brought much prayer and reflection at his Lebanon, Ohio, home.
“I don’t know why I’m the one that lived, but I feel like God is in control of everything and I’m just happy to be here,” Sarver said.
Information from: WCPO-TV, http://www.wcpo.com