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Texas Mass Shooting Victims Suffer From Wounds Five Years Later

Purple freckles dot Morgan Workman’s legs, arms, chest and cheekbone — tiny shards of metal from bullets and shrapnel that struck her as she worshiped in church in 2017. The fragments are leaching lead. Workman suffers from toxicity symptoms, including body pains, fatigue, depression, and probably can’t have a baby. “It feels like it was yesterday, like we’re still going through all of it,” Workman, 25, told the Washington Post. She was shot twice when a gunman opened fire in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Tx. More than two dozen of her fellow parishioners and closest friends died. Twenty others were wounded, sentenced to lives of unending pain and illness. David Colbath, shot nine times, suffers from high levels of lead in his blood. He can barely stand or use his hands without pain. Kris Workman, Morgan’s brother-in-law, was paralyzed from the waist down.


The impact of the bullets and the number of lives lost were magnified by the shooter’s weapon. Devin Patrick Kelley, wielding a Ruger AR-556 rifle, fired 450 military-grade bullets inside the church within minutes, all of which left the barrel at a velocity of around 3,200 feet a second. The devastation was incomparable to damage from a handgun or shotgun. Doctors likened the wounds to something they might have seen on a battlefield. “The high-velocity firearm injuries, when they come in, you’re missing body parts, and there’s bleeding,” said Lillian Liao, a trauma surgeon at University Hospital and UT Health in San Antonio. “You don’t see muscle. There’s just bone and skin and missing parts.” Many in the working-class town of 600 an hour southeast of San Antonio still attend services every Sunday. They pray in a new church built next to the old one. The sanctuary has fortified walls and security cameras. Many of the congregants — in addition to those in the church’s new security team — carry guns on their hips for protection. Kelley fled the scene and killed himself hours later. Police believe he was targeting relatives because of an ongoing “domestic situation.”


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