Shooting victim still struggling for normalcy
One year ago, Kiera Bramwell, 20, was shot eight times and survived. She said to this day she doesn’t know who is responsible for the attack nor why it happened, but through faith, she’s moving forward with her life.
While leaving a night club with her cousin and classmates on December 26, 2017, Bramwell said they traveled on Tonique Williams-Darling Highway in a two-door Honda.
As they stopped at the roundabout, she said shots began to fire.
“…Honestly, at first, I thought the tire [went] flat because I’m from Freeport, I’m not from Nassau, I [didn’t] know how a gun sounded honestly,” she said.
It wasn’t until the glass from the windows broke that she said she realized the car was being shot at.
As they began to move forward, she said the attackers came back around and rained the second round of bullets on their vehicle. Those were the shots that hit her.
The driver, despite being shot as well, managed to drive them to Quakoo Street police station where officers called an ambulance for the five victims.
“The driver jumped out [and] the passenger jumped out,” Bramwell said.
“…They pulled the seat out and I guess they [were] waiting on us to come out [but] when I was about to actually get up, I discovered that I couldn’t move.
“Like all of a sudden, I couldn’t move.
“I was trying to figure out what was happening but the person in the middle came out and when [they] came out, the person who had passed away, his head [fell] onto my lap…”
This, she said, caused her to panic.
Officers pulled her out of the vehicle, where she said she was lying on the cold police station floor until a second ambulance came because the first one carried the person who was unresponsive.
When she got into the ambulance, Bramwell said she began to pray.
Of the five people shot, one died, she said. She sustained the most injuries and is the only survivor who still lives in New Providence.
Bramwell said she sustained multiple shots to the back and was grazed in the neck. In the aftermath of the shooting, she underwent a bladder repair, a spinal cord surgery, which left screws and rods holding her spine together and she had to get a colostomy bag.
She said she spent her 18th birthday, which was two days later, in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and stayed there for another three weeks.
Her fourth surgery is scheduled for November, where doctors will remove the remaining bullet fragments from her skin.
“Leaving the hospital, at that moment I felt so happy because I wanted to go home so bad,” she said.
“But … I was still a bit traumatized and I didn’t even acknowledge that until they started the car and [it] started to move.
“I automatically went into a panic, like I broke down and I started to cry.”
Bramwell said she feels as though not knowing who the attackers were or why the attack happened is better because she doesn’t hold animosity towards anyone.
Bramwell said although she has beaten the odds and survived the attack, she feels as though those years of her life were taken away from her.
She said that at the time of the shooting she had just bought a car and was about to begin college to study nursing and massage therapy. However, those dreams were cut short because she can no longer stand for an extended period of time.
Despite her limited mobility, she said she still aspires to go to university to become an accountant.
Although doctors told Bramwell she would be paralyzed from the waist down for the remainder of her life, she eventually worked her way to using a walker and today she walks with the assistance of a quad stick.
She said today she’s able to drive and her life is getting back to normal.
But she said the only setback now is finding work. She said she has submitted her resume to multiple businesses and has had several interviews. However, she said when employers see her using a quad stick to walk, she feels like that is always the deal breaker.
Asked how she feels about her life today, she said, “I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent but I’m getting there.
“I could have lost it, but I’m getting there; still keeping the faith.”
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year