NIU shooting victim to leave hospital

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. 02/25/08 Maria Ruiz-Santana was shot several times by gunman Steven Kazmierczak on February 14, 2008. Her recovery is far from over, but the 21-year-old is ready to go home.

"All she remembers is hearing every single shot that was going. She was awake all the time. There was a moment when she lost conscience and she came back. The chief of police, Chief Brady was the one who was the first one there and stayed with her," said Alfredo Ruiz, Ruiz-Santana's father.

Ruiz-Santana was hit in the head, shoulder and chest. She was rushed to the Downers Grove hospital in critical condition. Doctors said her youth and strong spirit are aiding her recovery.

"I had one very brief conversation with her, and I was surprised to see how very well adjusted she is at this point with all the events, but I suspect that later down the road when she revisits her school, revisits her friends that a different set of emotions will come to the surface," said Dr. Peter Petratof, trauma surgeon.

Doctors said Ruiz-Santana suffered a partial paralysis to her vocal chords. They are waiting to see if that will heal.

Ruiz-Santana's father said his daughter is determined to finish school and is interested in a career with the FBI.

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