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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Survivor of Hate Crime Doesn't Hold onto Hate

FAIRBORN -- SSgt. Deondra Parks, a medical technician with the 88th Medical Group at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, remembers the day she was the victim of a hate crime during a shooting rampage in Texas.

"He came up to our tables and stated hey n****** it's Hitler's birthday and that's when he opened fire," Parks explained. "I felt a shot graze my face and that's when I decided to get to the ground, so I got to the ground and decided to play dead.

Three years ago she was in school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, when Ross Muehlberger came into a nearby coffee shop, opened fire on Parks and her friends with a 12 gauge shotgun. He later turned the gun on himself.

"I thought this is it for me, he's obviously for me," said Parks. "I just didn't respond to him shooting me at all. I just continued to lay there and just hope that he go away."

The majority of her injuries were to her right leg. The bullets shattered her patella and tibia plateau. She was told she'd never walk again.

"Life there's certain things that I can't do, but I'm still here," she explained.

Four surgeries and weeks of physical therapy later, Parks has recovered physically, but she still has post traumatic stress.

"If I'm sitting at a traffic light or dining or if I'm playing with my dog in the park, it's just always there that somebody is going to come up to me and they're going to kill me," she said.

She wanted to tell her story now to encourage others going through tough times.

"If anybody bring anything negative to me I'm going to help them find the positive in that situation like I found the positive in my situation," she said.

Although it took her a while, she does forgive the man who did this to her, because she says it made her stronger.

"I've been told a lot that I can't do and I've done it all."

Earlier this month, Sgt. Parks earned an associate degree in health sciences. She's now pursuing a bachelor's degree at the American Military University. Ultimately, she wants to be an occupational therapist and says her story of survival may inspire her patients.

 
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