It’s a story of survival as one of the two shooting victims in the New River Valley Mall shooting is giving WDBJ7 a firsthand account of the events that unfolded that chaotic day in Christiansburg.
It's been eight months since a gunman opened fire at the branch campus of the New River Community College, but the events are still fresh in the mind of one strong young woman.
Taylor Schumann said her life changed forever on April 12. Now, she's breaking her silence to the public and letting people know that even when bad things happen, you are stronger than you think.
"When the worst thing happens to you that you can possibly imagine and you're just wondering how you’re going to get up the next day and if it’s worth it to keep going you can and you will," said Schumann.
Schumann never thought she would be that girl in that situation.
"You can either let something like this be a stopping point in your life or you can use it to move forward and find out what your real purpose is."
Schumann said April 12, 2013 started off like any other day at the New River Valley Mall. She was working at the front desk of New River Community College's mall campus and like most, was eager to get through her day, but that day was extra special.
"I was really excited because my big bridal shower was the next day so a lot of my friends were coming in to stay with me and I just knew once I got through that day at work it was going to be a fun weekend."
But little to her knowledge, the events that would soon unfold would leave a mark on her forever.
"In my mind it didn't even click what was going on,” she said. “I was actually thinking like you can't bring guns in here. You can't bring guns to school. Then it just clicked what was going on."
In a matter of seconds, Schumann came face to face with the man police say opened fire in broad daylight.
"He pointed the gun at me and started pumping it,” she said. “It was a pump action shot gun and so I ducked underneath the desk."
Schumann had little time to think and made the quick decision to move into a supply closet in her office. Moments later, some of the first shots were fired.
"I looked down and there was just blood everywhere," she said. "It just looked like my hand exploded and I couldn't tell where the bullet had come in and out."
Schumann sat in the closet, helpless and hopeless, clinging on to her faith.
"If I was going to die there I just asked God to take me fast because it was just too hard to sit and wait."
Turns out, faith was on her side.
"Where the bullet had come through the door the hole was so big that I could see out of the hole in the door and I could see it was somebody good,” she said.
Schumann saw investigators put the handcuffs on Neil MacInnis that day and said she briefly locked eyes with him.
"This will always be a part of my story and who I am and I think that I understood really early on that it was going to be a long journey."
But Schumann refused to let anyone take control of her life. Despite what most would do, she moved ahead with her wedding plans and married her fiancé just six weeks later.
"I told my parents that they would just have to roll my down the aisle in a stretcher because we were doing it."
It was a decision that meant more to her than anyone else.
"It already felt like so much of my life had been taken away that day and I wasn't about to let someone else that tried to kill me and you know take that day away from me," she said. "On my wedding day I had scars on my chest and cuts on my face and I had to wear a huge brace on my hand and I still had pins.
Schumann got married with six pins in her hand and wore a handmade sling with her wedding dress.