SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — He was shot seven times during the San Bernardino terror attack and lived to tell.
But it’s a story he hasn’t wanted to or been able to tell before now.READ MORE: LA County Parks Re-Opens Its Junior Lake Lifeguard Program
CBS2’s Erica Nochlin spoke to Kevin Ortiz, 24, about his ordeal and the last images.
It’s a story that is Only On 2.
He was a newlywed at the time of the shooting.
Ortiz told Nochlin that speaking now about the massacre is still difficult but it was one more challenge he needed to face.
November 14, 2015 was the happiest day of his life. Two weeks later, would be the worst.
Now, the once-active, extroverted, carefree guy is cautious about everything.
“Everything’s different you know. Every day is a struggle,” says Ortiz.
But he wanted to finally sit down and break his silence one year later when his workplace became a war zone.
“It was almost a year ago but it feels like it was honestly yesterday, so I just try really hard to block that out just to get through my day,” he said.
His attorney also helped him with some of the more painful question. How he was shot seven times, how he played dead, how the shooter came back.
Ortiz was hit in both thighs, his shoulder, wrist and back. Two of the bullets hit the two cellphones in his pockets — possibly saving his life.
“I’m just blessed to be alive and I thank God for that,” he said.
Alive but not well.READ MORE: Pageant Of The Masters, Newport Beach Jazz Festival Announce 2021 Dates
“Kevin suffers from the most severe form of PTSD,” says attorney Tina Odjaghian.
Effects from a battle he never signed up for and certainly didn’t see coming.
“And his co-worker who he’d known for over a year, turned into his enemy,” said Odjaghian.
“Everyone was really close, we had really close bonds. And it hurts a lot, still” Ortiz says about the betrayal.
Ortiz now struggles to get out of bed in the morning — or to leave his house or to talk to strangers.
Still, he’s come a long way in a year.
It took him months just to walk again. He still has hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his back.
He credits his wife, his family and his church for getting him through.
“I think them being by my side through this whole journey, it’s been a true blessing, I don’t think I could have did it without them.” Ortiz said.
Ortiz has hope but he knows the future he once dreamed of has changed forever.
“I just do my best to make it through the day,” he says.
Ortiz and his attorney were very concerned that his story not be twisted or exploited.
They both reached out to CBS2 and trusted Nochlin to tell the story.MORE NEWS: 2 Long Beach Grocery Stores Shutting Down Saturday Over Hero Pay Law
Ortiz says he now wants to move on with his life and maintain his privacy — he does not want to do any more interviews.