Fifth Third VP Whitney Austin describes horror of Cincinnati shooting

Fifth Third Bank vice president Whitney Austin, who was shot 12 times Thursday at the bank’s Fountain Square location in downtown Cincinnati, is describing the horror of that day, our partners at WCPO report.

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Sitting up in her hospital room at University of Cincinnati Medical Center massaging her left hand after close to seven hours of surgery, Austin says she’s focused on gratitude, but will never forget walking into the lobby that morning, according to a statement released by Fifth Third. 

Austin was on a conference call when she walked into the lobby’s revolving doors, straight into the path of flying bullets. She says she could feel blood in her throat and instantly thought she was dying, WCPO reports.

“I thought for certain I was dying, but then I realized my left arm worked, and so did my brain. I’m alive,” Austin said in the statement. 

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She rolled to find her phone and call her husband, and was struck by another bullet, WCPO reports.

“He [the shooter] saw me move is all I could think,” Austin said.

She yelled for help as police ran by and remembers officers, paramedics and strangers moving her from the doorway onto Fountain Square.

Austin remembers telling them “I have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old and they need their mommy. I need to be OK.” 

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Since then, Austin has FaceTimed her children and they are doing well, according to the statement.

In a previous statement, she expressed her thanks to the first responders who rescued her, WCPO reports.

Austin’s right arm was shot multiple times, and she will need more surgery in addition to physical and occupational therapy. For now, she is focused on gratitude. 

"I am so grateful, so incredibly grateful to be alive.” 

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The incident wounded another victim and left three dead. The shooter, 29-year-old Omar Santa-Perez was shot and killed in a gunfire exchange with police in the bank’s lobby.

Police are still trying to determine a motive. 

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