A shooting last week shocked a community. Sixteen year old LaShana Westbrook suffered life threatening injuries. She spoke out Thursday at a news conference held with local organization Impact One.
"Don't take things for granted--you can't take life for granted, because in a split second your life can be taken away from you. Even if you aren't the intended person for it to happen to," said Westbrook through tears.
In the news conference held at the Cathedral of Love church, Westbrook said she is grateful to be alive. Westbrook's mother says she has bullets permanently lodged in her right and left lungs that doctors say is too dangerous to try to remove.
Westbrook has attended Cathedral of Love since she was a toddler and she admitted Thursday that, for some time, she'd been on the wrong path. She recently wore an ankle monitor on juvenile probation but she said this incident has completely changed her life.
"Get away from the bad company--you may think that they're your friends, but at the end of the day all you need is your family," said Westbrook.
A shooting last week at a Benson Quik Trip put her in the hospital in critical condition. Her alleged shooter, Montel Wood, is still on the loose. Three other suspects are in police custody for allegedly helping Wood.
Now Westbrook says she's reflecting on the poor choices made that took her to the store in the middle of the night on a school night, but she said she was not the target of the shooting.
She became emotional saying the scary experience has brought her closer to her family and taught her not take them for granted.
She said, “I look at them as an opportunity for me to connect with my family better than what I was before. We have a better relationship. I love them to death. I really do. It has changed my heart."
Lashana’s family members say they feel blessed that she is alive.