SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Two survivors of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting left the hospital Thursday, but not before they held a news conference to thank a mystery man who helped save them.
The two young women walked to the podium under their own power, not with a wheelchair, and say they’re recovering from their physical wounds remarkably well, but they know that the road to recovery will be long.
Bryn Ota-Matthews and Babriella Gaus were halfway up the inflatable yellow slide, in full view of the gunman when they spotted him and realized what he was about to do.
“I saw him with the gun, and was kind of like, I just stared. And then he started rapid firing, and I was like ‘Let’s go,” Gaus said.
They climbed down the rope ladder, ran around the blue porta potties, and heard three shots when they go to the parking lot.
“And I felt like I got pinched, burnt, bee sting, and I knew, I was like, ‘I’m hit,” Gaus said.
A bullet struck Gabriella in the shoulder, and fragments hit her back. Bryn took a direct hit in the back.
“It grazed my lung and it went through my liver, and it crushed my diaphragm. But my liver, is the best organ I guess, is what the doctors are telling me it heals really fast, so. I’m going to have a bullet in my liver for my whole life. I’m not going to be able to see it, or feel it, but it’s always going to be there,” said Ota-Matthews.
Bleeding with no car keys, and ambulances still en route, a man by the name of john who showed up and drove them to the hospital.
“And so I just wanted to thank John, hopefully that’s his name. Wherever he’s at, that act of kindness…I mean we’re just so lucky,” said Gaus.
As news of the shooting spread, doctors and staff began pouring into the hospital, Dr. Jeff Chin with the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center called the flood of injured patients a dance of chaos.
“She needed the attention of our trauma surgeons, of our anesthesiologists, and the many care teams to follow. It’s wonderful to see her on her feet. I’m glad you get to go home today,” Dr. Chin said.
Dr. Brian Saavedra from St. Louise hospital told a story of how Gabriella kept asking about her friend, and was exceedingly polite to the emergency room staff.
“Almost seems to be embarrassed to ask for pain medicine. And it’s remarkable at how people respond and how people come together. And that sort of communal behavior, that passion carried over I think throughout the whole night,” Dr. Saavedra said.