Highland Park shooting survivors still struggling, but grateful, as Thanksgiving approaches

Michelle Gallardo Image
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Highland Park shooting survivors still struggling, but grateful
Three women and their families were strangers up until the moment tragedy brought them together in the aftermath Highland Park's July 4th parade.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Three women and their families were perfect strangers up until the moment tragedy brought them together in the aftermath of Highland Park's July 4th parade.

As Thanksgiving approaches, they are united in purpose and in gratitude for the most basic of all things: life.

"I thought I was going to die," Highland Park shooting survivor Liz Turnipseed said. "That I was going to lay there and I was going to bleed out and I was going to die."

WATCH | Highland Park shooting survivor tells her story

Highland Park shooting survivor Liz Turnipseed shares her story from that tragic day and how she's continuing to recover.

"I was at the parade with my three adult children, my son-in-law and my 2-year-old grand baby," said Debra Baum, with the Highland Park Gun Violence Project. "Our entire family could have been wiped out."

"July 3rd I had 70 people at my house and the next day our life got flipped upside down," shooting survivor Lindsay Hartman said. "So I just know for me, I'm trying to enjoy it and not spend too much time in the past."

SEE ALSO | Highland Park parade shooting temporary memorial opens next to city hall

For Lindsay, not spending too much time in the past means hosting Thanksgiving for 30. Liz, who was one of the nearly 50 people injured that day, still needs a cane to get around, so she'll be catering the meal and having her entire family fly in. Debra will be coming together with the same family she was with on July 4.

"There are a lot of families in Highland Park that don't have people with them this Thanksgiving because of what happened," Baum said. "It's a very weighty realization."

But there's also gratitude for random things and people, like for the perfect strangers who took in Liz's 3-year-old daughter for a couple of hours after she was shot. And the neighbor she'd never met before who lent her a step stool for her bed.

Turning pain into purpose is what unites these women now as they lobby for an assault weapons ban in Congress. Because while life for them will never be the same, it does move on.