December 8, 2015

Adventist Specialist in Pain but Recovering After California Shooting

, news editor, Adventist Review

Amanda Gaspard, a Seventh-day Adventist believer who was among the 21 people injured in a shooting spree in southern California last week, is recovering slowly but in a lot of pain, her parents said Monday.

Gaspard, 31, an environmental health specialist for the San Bernardino County public health department, suffered multiple shot wounds to her lower arm, upper thigh, and knee when a coworker and his wife opened fire on a departmental holiday party in San Bernardino on Dec. 2.

Fourteen people were killed in the killing spree, which authorities have called “an act of terrorism” perpetrated by a “radicalized” couple.

“Amanda is recovering slowly and is in a lot of pain,” her parents, Ken and Diane Gaspard, said in an e-mailed statement. “She is so thankful for the outpouring of love and support that everyone has shown her, and she specifically wants to thank the first responders, paramedics, SWAT team, and police officers who helped her and the other victims so much during the events of that day.”

Amanda was shot in multiple places in her arm, thigh, and knee and has more than 20 shrapnel wounds on the rest of her body, they said.

In the statement, the parents provided a more detailed overview of what transpired on the day of the attack. Their account is as follows:

“We were called by one of Amanda’s co-workers immediately after the shootings. She had been with Amanda and told us that Amanda had been shot multiple times, but that even while Amanda was lying there bleeding, she was holding her hand and praying to God with her.

“After we spoke to her co-worker, it was hours before we learned of her condition, and we were praying constantly that she would survive, not knowing exactly where she had been shot. We were able to speak with her before she was brought in to surgery.

The statement reiterated earlier remarks that Diane Gaspard made to the Adventist Review about her daughter’s strong faith in Jesus and her hope for His soon return.

Read Adventist woman injured in California shooting speaks of Jesus’ return

“Amanda is a very strong, spiritual person, and one of her first comments to us when we talked to her was that she hoped that this tragic event could be used somehow to draw people closer to God and let them know that Jesus is coming soon,” the parents said. “Our entire family flew out immediately to be by her side as soon as we learned what hospital she had been sent to.”

The family lives in Hinsdale, New Hampshire. Amanda is a 2006 graduate of Southern Adventist University in Tennessee and a 2002 graduate of Blue Mountain Academy in Pennsylvania.

The parents said that when the shooters entered the room, firing shots, Amanda fell to the ground and hid underneath a table, keeping her eyes closed and lying still.

“After firing multiple rounds throughout the room, the shooter came to her and shot her,” they said. “They stood over her and could have easily shot her in the head, but we are so grateful to God that they shot her in the leg and arm instead. Later, post-surgery, she learned on TV that it was a co-worker who led the attack.”

Her parents said she was devastated to learn of the deaths of the 14 people, most of whom were her coworkers.

“Our family’s thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and all who were affected by this tragedy,” they said.