Final shooting victim released from hospital after 'miracle' survival

Final shooting victim released from hospital after 'miracle' survival
Whitney Austin with nurse Robbie Thomas at UC Medical Center on Sept. 8
Whitney Austin with nurse Robbie Thomas at UC Medical Center on Sept. 8
Brian Sarver, one of two survivors in the Fifth Third Bank shooting, was released from the hospital Monday. (Credit: Lisa Sarver)
Brian Sarver, one of two survivors in the Fifth Third Bank shooting, was released from the hospital Monday. (Credit: Lisa Sarver)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Whitney Austin, the final Fifth Third Bank shooting victim to remain in the hospital, has been released, University of Cincinnati Health says.

Whitney Austin was shot more than 12 times as she was attempting to enter Fifth Third Bank through a glass revolving door.

She arrived home Tuesday night to her home in Louisville.

"I'm so grateful to be home. I got to see my motivation for living, my two little kids. I got to lie with them as they fell asleep. I'm thankful to be alive, for all of the good wishes and for everyone who has helped. Now that I'm feeling a little better, I've been spending time reading and learning about Luis, Prudhvi and Richard, and what wonderful people they were, and the families they left behind. I was lucky and Brian was lucky. And I hope everyone's energies can go into helping these families in whatever way you can," Austin said in a statement.

Her husband called his wife's survival a miracle.

"'Miracle' is the only word I know that could accurately describe what happened to Whitney," Whitney's husband Waller Austin said in a post shared by a Fifth Third Bank spokesperson.

Whitney is recovering from seven hours of surgery she had on Friday to repair her right arm that was shot multiple times, according to a family statement.

RELATED: Fifth Third vice president survives Fountain Square shooting

The Fifth Third vice president will need more surgeries as well as physical and occupational therapy.

The other shooting victim that was hospitalized, Brian Sarver, was released from the hospital Monday evening.

CBRE, the commercial real estate company Sarver worked for, released a statement Friday about him, saying that he had emergency surgery and was recovering.

"Yesterday was a sad day for everyone at CBRE. Our colleague, Brian Sarver, was performing work for our client, Fifth Third, on site and was a victim of the shooting in Cincinnati. After undergoing emergency surgery, he is recovering. We are monitoring Brian's progress and supporting his family at this extremely difficult time.

CBRE offers out deepest sympathies to the family of Rick Newcomer, and employee of a contractor for CBRE, who passes away from the injuries he sustained in the shooting. We send our thoughts and prayers to Brian, his family and everyone who has been touched by this tragic incident," the company said.

Waller thanked the Cincinnati Police Department for their actions.

"My wife is alive today because you refused allow the shooter to continue his rampage - you are my heroes and my children will know that they will have their mother and hold her, too, because of YOUR actions," he wrote.

The spokesperson shared the Facebook statement Austin posted on Monday as Whitney continues to recover from her injuries at University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

My wife, Whitney Austin, was one of the five innocent humans who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time last Thursday morning at Fountain Square in Cincinnati.
 
We are still unpacking how she survived the initial assault, especially after the shooter returned to fire more rounds into her body, which was riddled with more than a dozen wounds.
 
We are so thankful for the bravery of the Cincinnati Police Department. 
 
To officers Jennifer Chilton, Gregory Toyeas, Antonio Etter, and Eric Kaminsky - 
I will be forever in your debt. My wife is alive today because you refused to allow the shooter to continue his rampage – you are my heroes and my children will know that they will have their mother and hold her, too, because of YOUR actions. We are committing your names to our memories and you and your families will forever be in our prayers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot wait to meet you
 
I want to thank Officer Al Staples for carrying Whitney to safety, giving her strength and hope, and for calling me immediately and giving me the opportunity speak with her before she was taken to the hospital. He has also reached out and checked in with us several times over the past few days
 
We cannot express how appreciative we are for the Cincinnati Police Department and all of the officers who go beyond the call of duty – what a privilege for this city
 
I want to thank the fire department and paramedics. I have to thank other first responders who just happened to be at the right place at the right time to help. The teams of doctors and nurses at UC medical have given Whitney phenomenal care.
 
I want to thank Fifth Third Bank, a company that has always treated my wife very well and appreciated her hard work and continue to provide opportunities and challenges for her. Fifth Third takes care of its employees and I am awed by not only the corporation's commitment to Whitney, but also by her family of colleagues including mentors and managers who sat by my side in the SICU along with my family and friends to give whatever support they could.
 
I want to thank everyone who saw my Facebook posts and dropped whatever you were doing to pray for my wife. I am not a religious man, and often question my faith or what God is, but I believe in prayer and 'miracle' is the only word I know that could accurately describe what happened to Whitney. We are blessed. Thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts. 
 
Whitney still has a long road ahead in her recovery both physically and mentally. I am so glad that she never saw the shooter. When I first learned of the shooter's demise, I was angry that I would never be able to address him face to face. However, as I learned more about this man and his mental issues, I came to realize that communicating with a psychopath would have been an act of futility. He was a sad soul that needed to be removed from our world. I am also comforted by the fact that he never consciously shot at Whitney Austin, he was just shooting at the closest human target. This brutal assault was not personal, it was sick.
 
I also want to apologize for directing everyone's attention towards me and my family when so many others were impacted by these events in the most tragic sense.
 
I have been reading as much as I can about the lives of Prudhvi Raj Kandepi, Luis Calderon, and Richard Newcomer. I am learning about all of the amazing qualities of these men, who were truly exceptional people, and my heart aches for their families. 
 
I promise you three that Whitney and I are already beginning our mission to end this nonsense that has taken you from your world. We are committed to amplifying the conversation about gun access, especially in reference to mental health.
 
We are so grateful to know that Brian Sarver is also on the road to recovery and may be able to go home soon. It was incredible to meet him and his family this morning to share our stories together (he was being cared for just down the hall from Whitney). Again, we are so lucky to have been in the care of the remarkable University of Cincinnati medical staff.
 
Please continue to share your story with us, if you were involved - we want to thank you!
 
For those reaching out to help us: We have some professionals setting up both a personal family fund for unforeseen expenses other than our medical costs as well as a separate non-profit fund that will be for furthering our mission to protect innocent folks from senseless gun violence.
 
I will share those links when they are available as well as other links to support each victim's family dealing with their loss.

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