A mother of two from Louisville is lucky to be alive after a gunman fired 12 times at her in the lobby of a city center Cincinnati office building on Thursday.
Whitney Austin said he was on a conference call as he entered the lobby of Fifth Third Bank's headquarters when the bullets began to fly through the air.
Austin, 37, was beaten a dozen times. She was rescued by two officers who ran to the lobby and took her to a safe place. Austin is currently recovering at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
The mother of two small children, ages 5 and 7, issued a statement about the tragedy on Friday night through her employer Fifth Third Bank.
Whitney Austin, a 37-year-old mother of two, survived Thursday's shooting in an office building in downtown Cincinnati
Austin said in a statement Friday that he was thinking about how I can make a difference in the future. She is in the photo above in a Facebook photo with her husband and two children
Austin, pictured with her husband, works for Fifth Third Bank as a senior manager of digital loan products
"I am still processing the events of yesterday, the impact for the victims, for me and for the community," he said, according to the Courier Journal.
Austin, who works for the bank as a senior manager of digital loan products, said he was "thinking about how I can make a difference in the future & # 39;
"Our family was overwhelmed by the support we received from co-workers, family, friends and strangers," he said. "We are very grateful that people want to help and do something."
The gunman was identified as Omar Santa Perez, 29 years old. He appears in a police photo 2014
Austin's brother-in-law, Lonnie Gardner, told the Courier Journal newspaper that his most severe wound was to his shoulder. Gardner also said that Austin, who is married to his brother Waller Austin, has two breaks in one arm.
It is not clear how long she will remain hospitalized. Waller said in a statement that his 12-year-old wife was "in good spirits and a fighter."
Austin began working for Fifth Third Bank as a cashier in 2003, before being promoted to personal banker. Over the years, she was promoted several more times and in 2016 she became the senior manager of digital loan products.
Austin was one of two people wounded in Thursday's shooting when gunman Omar Santa Perez opened fire just after 9 a.m. The identity of the second injured victim has not been disclosed and it is said that he is in serious condition.
Three people died in the uproar, authorities said. They have been identified as Pruthvi Kandepi, 25, Luis Calderón, 48, and Richard Newcomer, 64.
Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Kandepi worked as a programmer at a company called Tech Services.
A photo of the gun allegedly used by the suspect Omar Santa Perez appears at a press conference on Friday
This image published by the Cincinnati Police Department on Friday shows a sample of a briefcase containing ammunition used by the gunman
The newcomer worked for Gilbane Building Company, based in Rhode Island. He was at the bank's headquarters supervising an electrical project on the third floor.
According to the description of a GoFundMe page, Calderón was a married father of two children, a boy and a girl.
Investigators said Pérez, 29, was wearing a suit when he opened fire with a 9-mm gun. He carried a briefcase with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Perez fired 35 bullets in just under four and a half minutes before the police killed him.
(He was) shooting anyone he sees, "Police Chief Eliot Isaac told reporters at a press conference.
Isaac said officers arrived on the scene 55 seconds after the first 911 call. The police body camera video posted on Friday shows an officer shooting through a glass window and killing Perez.
"The police saved lives, and we owe them all a great debt of gratitude," said Mayor John Cranley.
Authorities do not know why Perez opened fire on the building and said he never worked there.