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Recovery will be hard for people injured in mass shootings, says Trolley Square survivor

(Associated Press, El Paso)

SALT LAKE CITY – A woman who survived the Trolley Square shooting in 2007 says there will be a long and painful road to recovery for the people injured in last weekend’s mass shootings, if they recover at all.

When Carolyn Tuft heard about the shooting in El Paso, Texas, it triggered a flood of painful memories of the attack that killed her daughter and left her severely injured.

“That one sent me right back to Trolley Square.  I imagined myself laying on the floor, bleeding.  The whole scenario went through my head,” she says.

Tuft was hit with three shotgun blasts and she still has 300 pellets left inside her body.  Those pellets are slowly poisoning her, every day.  She wakes up with throbbing pain in her bones, serious headaches and vomiting because of the lead in her bloodstream.

“If you’ve ever had a really bad flu where you felt like you’ve been hit by a truck and you have no energy and all you can do is lay down because you feel so sick… that’s how I’ve felt every second of every day for 12 ½ years,” Tuft adds.

She says the attack not only injured her physically and mentally, but financially.  She wasn’t able to work, and now she’s living below the poverty line and, in her words, scraping by on fumes.

“I lost my business.  I lost my house.  I lost my health and I lost my daughter.”

Tuft says it’s especially sad for her to know other people across the country are just beginning the awful journey of recovery that she’s been on for over a decade.

She says, “Life is never the same.  I had other kids at home that needed me and I was no longer the mom they needed.  I used to be a very strong, very athletic, thin, fit person.  I was a go-getter.”