LOS ANGLES (CBSLA) — Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the shooting massacre in Las Vegas.
Nearly 60 people died. Hundreds more were injured.
One survivor talked Friday with CBS2’s Tom Wait about her ordeal, the moment she was shot and what she’s endured the past year.
“I want to move past it. I want to feel good,” said Melissa Coffey on her mental and physical journey back from a shattering experience.
Coffey, her husband and a male friend were at the Route 91 concert standing near the stage when gunfire rained down all around them.
“We heard the gunshots but we didn’t know what it was,” she says. “Everyone kinda stopped and just looked around.”
When it became clear someone was spaying the crowd with bullets, mass panic took over and everyone ran.
“We started to run but we encountered this young woman who was screaming out ‘I’m never going to see my babies again’. And as a mom I couldn’t leave her,” Coffey says.
As she ran with the stranger, Coffey would be struck by gunfire.
“It must have been a few seconds later,” she says, “the bullet went through my leg and I dropped to the ground My husband dragged me out of the line of fire. I ultimately remember him throwing me under a truck. And there was a woman who was very close to me, two or three feet away, who had just been shot and killed.”
Coffey could only think of her two daughters.
“I remember laying under that truck praying to let me come home and see my babies,” she says.
Strangers in a pick up truck would scoop up Coffey and her husband and race her to the hospital. She says the bullet missed her femoral artery by less than a centimeter.
“I know how lucky I am. I’ve had every doctor I saw tell me how incredibly lucky I am to be alive,” Coffey says.
She spent time on crutches and in a wheelchair but it’s the emotional wounds that have been the toughest to heal,
The mother of two is also trying to move on from this big question — Why did the killer unleash such unthinkable violence?
She’s gotten in touch with her own anger and moved on in that regard.
“Now, I’m sad for the families – sad for the 58, I’m sad for their families.” she said.
And in the healing process and just dealing with daily life there is always a new normal.
“I don’t like to sit with my back toward the door in a restaurant,” she says, “when I do go to a concert, I know where the exits are.”
To help the survivors move forward Coffey says there’s a message she wants everyone to hear.
“People heal in their own time. I know people who are still really messed up. And that’s okay Give them the space that they need to heal,” she says.
Last weekend, Coffey went to a Jason Aldean concert. She plans to go again this weekend — with other survivors. Aldean was the singer on stage when the massacre started.
As for the woman Coffey helped that night, she’s not seen her since and has no idea what’s happened to her.
If you are that woman, or you know who she is, click here.