New Life Church shooting survivor sheds light on those affected by mass shootings

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Las Vegas shooting hits especially close to home for one woman in Colorado Springs. She was there when a gunman stormed New Life Church nearly 10 years ago, and her life has never been the same.

“A gunman opened fire on my family as we were getting in our minivan. Two of my sisters were killed, and my dad was injured,” said Laurie Works, who is a survivor of the New Life Church shooting.

A decade later, shootings like Las Vegas can trigger the same emotions. Works wants to speak out so those who know someone affected can try to understand what they are going through.

“It has been affecting me this week, but it goes in and out,” Works said. “I think the first while is just total shock. At least for me, the first six months was just a total period of shock. I barely remember anything.”

She said it’s not just those on the front lines that friends and family should be concerned about.

“There are these people that we don’t think about survivors,” Works said. “People who were at the concert but didn’t get shot at all. People who were in the nearby hotels that had to be on lockdown. Those people, we never think about their experience, but they heard things and saw things that they didn’t ever want to experience, and they’re survivors too.”

She said when the chaos dies down, it’s easy to feel alone.

“I think it’s so easy to forget when the news cycle passes,” Works said. “It’s so easy. It feels almost abandoning. It’s so much in your face, when it’s in your face, and then when it’s gone, you’re like, ‘Am I alone out here?’ And I just want to say you’re not alone out here.”

Works is now going to school to become a counselor to help others facing traumatic situations like this. She said everyone grieves differently.

“Now most people are probably dealing with acute stress, which is another, similar diagnosis to PTSD, but it’s within 30 days of an incident, so most people are in acute stress mode right now, so that might shift for some people, then it’s not going to shift for others,” Works said. “The loss, that doesn’t change. That’s still difficult some days.”

She recommends that those struggling get in touch with the Rebel Project, which has a Facebook group to help those in need of support.

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