She is one of three victims of the Clackamas Town Center shooting and the only one to survive.
On Saturday, 15-year-old Kristina Shevchenko shared what happened inside the mall that day for the very first time.
The teen was walking home from school and taking a shortcut through the mall when she was shot in the chest by Jacob Roberts.
"Being home ... is family," said the teenager from her parents' home.
Surrounded by the arms of her family and on the mend from surviving the unthinkable, Kristina relives the moment she came face-to-face with a killer.
"I only saw him for an instant, just enough to see he was wearing black, a mask, and carrying a gun. I didn't even realize that it was a real gun. I thought it was a prank," added Kristina.
It wasn't until the first shots rang out that she realized not only was the gun real but Roberts was heading in her direction.
As bullets whizzed passed her she hid behind a pillar alongside her best friend Alyana. When she looked down, she realized she had been shot in the chest.
"I did feel a huge amount of pressure and pain but honestly it feels like - you can't describe what it feels like," said Kristina.
Kristina was rushed the hospital where doctors at OHSU removed bullet fragments from her collapsed lung and bruised liver.
Her father said it's nothing short of a miracle that she's here.
"Biggest present for us this Christmas is that she is alive. Otherwise I'm not sure what it would be," said Kristina's father.
The courageous teen, who's endured so much, struggles with many questions about that day; including why two other innocent people had to die.
"It is hard to think that, why should they have to be the ones that weren't able to run away. They were just passing by like all other people, why should it be that they have to be the ones that didn't get away," added Kristina.
But when asked about the man who shot her; she harbors no hate. Instead she's hoping to remind others just how precious life is.
"He might have had a hard life, I don't know what his life was like or his reasons for doing what he did. I can't exactly blame him. It only shows how prepared we have to be, and how we have to cherish every moment because you never know when it could be the last," said Kristina.
The Shevchenkos also wanted to extend their deepest condolences to the families of Steve Forsyth and Cindy Yuille. They said they, too, are in their prayers during this difficult time and they want to thank the community for all its continued support.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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