On the morning of September 6, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Fountain Square, killing three people and injuring two more.
One year later, the survivors want to send a strong message: Seek help. Jim Meyers, who watched one of his construction co-workers get killed and another injured, and Whitney Austin, a Fifth Third executive who was shot 12 times, both struggle with the aftermath of the event, particularly when other mass shootings take place.
“The impact continues to reverberate on and on,” Austin says during an interview with the Associated Press. “You continue to be victimized after you’ve already been victimized.”
“Lives change forever because of the actions of one person,” says Karen Rumsey, a social worker who heads Cincinnati Police Department victims’ services. Suicide rates go up and survivor’s symptoms of PTSD rise as well after each mass shooting.
Austin founded Whitney/Strong, an organization dedicated to reducing gun violence, in order to “give back, pay it forward” and as a way to cope with survivors’ guilt.
Meyers, who is in therapy, says, “Don’t be afraid to let your emotions show. Surround yourselves with support, lean on other people when you need it.”