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Lawyer Survives Nebraska Mall Shooting

Posted Dec 6, 2007 12:42 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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When Jeff Schaffart went with his wife and their 2-year-old daughter to the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., yesterday, he didn't expect the routine shopping trip to offer a life-risking experience.

However, as the 34-year-old lawyer and his wife shopped for a dress for their daughter to wear on a visit to Santa, he heard bangs. He didn't recognize them as gunshots, but when he looked down, blood was streaming down his left arm, according to the Associated Press and the Omaha World-Herald. Although he never saw a gunman or witnessed any other shootings, Schaffart apparently may have been shot from behind by Robert Hawkins. He was identified by police as the 19-year-old who murdered eight in a shooting spree at the mall that sent hundreds of panicked shoppers running for cover before he committed suicide at a department store.

Four others besides Schaffart reportedly were wounded in the attack, two critically. Schaffart, who used a necktie as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding from the through-and-through wound in his upper left arm and used napkins to cover a graze wound on his pinkie, was well enough to appear at a news conference.

"I feel exceedingly lucky and fortunate to have made it through today," Schaffart says. "My heart goes out to those that didn't, and the families of those that weren't so lucky."

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