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Whitney Austin, Fifth Third Bank VP shot 12 times, released from hospital

Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 18:28:27-04

CINCINNATI -- Fifth Third Bank vice president Whitney Austin, the second surviving victim of the Sept. 6 shooting at Fifth Third Center, was Tuesday discharged from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

In an interview from her hospital bed, Austin said bullets greeted her that morning as she stepped through the center's revolving doors. Gunman Omar Santa-Perez shot her a total of 12 times -- first as she entered and then as she reached for her cell phone.

When police arrived and killed Santa-Perez minutes later, paramedics carried Austin out of the building and into an ambulance.

"I have a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, and they need their mommy," she recalled telling them. "I need to be OK."

Her husband, Waller Austin, said he was optimistic about a full recovery involving further surgery as well as physical and occupational therapy. He also said he and his wife planned to make themselves vocal about the issue of limiting gun access, especially for people with a history of mental illness like Santa-Perez.

The other surviving victim was Brian Sarver, a local project manager with the national real estate firm CBRE. In a statement, CBRE spokesman Robert McGrath said Sarver received emergency surgery in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and the company was "supporting his family at this extremely difficult time."

UCMC discharged him Monday. In a statement Tuesday, he said he was "very grateful for everyone at CBRE, Fifth Third Bank and the Cincinnati community at large for their outpouring of support.

"My immediate focus is getting well again," he wrote. "I look forward to getting back on my feet and returning to work as soon as practical. Thank you, again, to everyone who has treated me and my family with such kindness and affection over the past few days."

Three other victims -- Rick Newcomer, Luis Calderon and Prudhvi Raj Kandepi -- died at the scene or at the hospital on the day of the shooting.