‘I just had to keep running’: 15-year-old Sun Fresh employee recovering after being shot

KANSAS CITY, Mo -- A 15-year-old girl is recovering at home Tuesday night after being shot Monday at the Sun Fresh Market at 31st and Prospect.

A man was also shot. Police say it was not a random shooting, and the girl, who worked at the store, was an innocent victim caught in the crossfire. FOX4 is not publishing her name because the man who shot her has not been caught.

The teenage victim said she had just clocked into work and was putting baskets away when she heard the shots.

“After I heard them, I saw a bullet hit the cans of pop, and I just started running down the aisle,” the girl said. “Then five seconds later, I felt it, and I just had to keep running.”

Running for her life after being shot in the leg by a bullet meant for someone else. The 15-year-old victim said she saw the man who was shot fall to the floor and then ran into the freezer at Sun Fresh Market where several coworkers and shoppers were taking cover, waiting for someone to save them.

“I was back there, and I was like, 'Oh my God, there is a lot of blood everywhere!' I was just thinking they need to hurry up,” the girl said of what seemed like a long wait until the shooting stopped. “And I was cold and stuff. I was trying to keep myself warm and my leg was shaking.”

The victim’s mom got a phone call that her daughter had been shot. She raced to the scene, praying her daughter was alive. The girl's mother couldn't go into the store nor could she get any information about her daughter’s condition.

All she could do was stand at the door and wait.

“And they brought the first victim out, and it wasn’t her. And then when I started seeing them put up yellow tape, I started panicking a little more,” the victim’s mom said. “I was like, 'What is going on?' Because they are not telling me. I just want to know if she is alive.”

Although it was just minutes, she said it seemed like hours before the next gurney was wheeled out and a mother’s prayers were answered.

“I start breathing again,” the girl's mom said. “To see her sitting up and alive with her eyes open, and I seen her leg, and I am like, 'OK, it is her leg. Let’s go to the hospital and make sure everything was good.' I just didn’t want my baby to be laying somewhere dead.”

The teenage victim had a message about the increasing violence in the metro that could have taken her life.

“The community has to do better with this. And then just coming into a store where everybody is at, it is not helping nothing at all. It is just putting people’s life on the line to die or get hurt," she said.

The girl’s mother said she's lived in the inner city her whole life and is raising her children here because she believes in the revitalization efforts happening in Kansas City. Her daughter’s close call has changed her perspective.

“My daughter, she is not doing anything to anybody. She is just trying to work and do the right thing,” the mother said. “So I think I need to separate myself from this community and go somewhere else.”

The teenage victim said she's not going back to work at Sun Fresh.

“I don’t want to take another risk at all. I don’t want to be close to that," she said.

The 15-year-old is an athlete. She said her leg injury has sidelined her for this basketball season, but she is determined to make it back to 100 percent by track season in the spring. In a few years, she wants to be a track star at the University of Kansas, then go on to practice sports medicine.