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Waffle House shooting survivor suffering from flashbacks, PTSD

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Liz Lohuis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Hiding behind the counter as shots rang out with her fiance lying on top of her was the scariest moment for Waffle House shooting survivor Virginia Stanley.

She sat down with News4's Liz Lohuis for a candid interview about her struggles, her suicide attempt and her humble plea for more help.

Stanley said when she went to work April 22, she was happy.

"It was a good night. It was a great night. Everybody was singing," said Stanley.

She was behind the counter when she heard it.

"We have creamers, and when you stomp on them, they make a loud pop noise. Honestly, that's what I thought it was at first," said Stanley.

The sound was the first gunshot hitting the glass. Her fiance took action.

"He grabbed me and threw me to the ground and shoved me under the register as far as he could get me underneath there and laid on top of me," said Stanley.

Soon after, the shooter walked in.

"I can just hear that door. I'll never forget the sound of that door hitting the glass," said Stanley.

The whole thing lasted less than 45 seconds, but those seconds have taken over Stanley's life. The most haunting part was seeing her friend, "T" the cook, lying dead outside.

"That is the one part that bothers me the most because I saw his face and I looked down on my hands and I had blood on them and I kept calling his name, but he didn't get up," said Stanley.

Stanley was hurt by shattered glass, but it's the emotional wounds that are taking the longest time to heal. She checked into a mental health facility because she says she was seeing things that weren't there.

"I would look down that hallway over there, and I would see him back there," said Stanley.

She even attempted to take her own life.

"Seeing his face and hearing everything is just too much. It's just too much for one person," said Stanley.

Waffle House is paying her medical bills, but Stanley still needs help with prescriptions, rent and hopes to get a service dog for her PTSD. You can donate to her Go Fund Me page by clicking here.

More than anything, Stanley wants others who have gone through this kind of trauma to get the healing they need.

"There needs to be more opportunities and doors for people who do suffer from PTSD or in a mass shootings because it can bring someone down to the lowest part of their life," said Stanley.

WSMV

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