The innocent 12- year old girl injured in the gunfire at the Galleria Thanksgiving night is taking steps to recovery.
After she was shot, an 18-year-old army national guard solider helped her until paramedics arrived.
Rashad Billingsley and his cousin went to the Galleria after Thanksgiving dinner, ready to look for those black Friday savings. But when gunfire rang out, Billingsley says his military training took over.
“I was helping the little girl out,” Billingsley told us. “I wasn’t focused on anything else than to make sure I had her safe.”
Billingsley, who helps lead worship at his church, has a firm belief God led him to the Galleria that night.
“Obviously he’s a great God and he put me in the right place at the right time to save this little girl’s life,” he said, after singing How Great is Our God.
Billingsley says he was in the Foot Action store for about one minute, when he heard gunfire.
“Once we heard the gun shots, it was all chaotic. Everyone was just running, I guess trying to seek cover, get to safety,” he said. “My military training kicked in, get as low to the ground first off and then try to seek cover... I was telling everyone follow me, this way, there’s an exit over there.”
That’s when he met a 12-year-old girl injured by gunfire.
“I had told a police officer to go grab me a jacket so I could apply pressure to the wound,” he explained. “Because it was on her back, I couldn’t apply a tourniquet which stops the blood flow from going to the actual wound. So the only thing I could do was put pressure into the wound to stop the bleeding.”
He says he used training and remained calm.
“First thing that went through my mind, was I heard gun shots, and you see this on TV all the time, on the news and stuff people getting shot but you never think you will end up in that situation,” said Billingsley.
His mother, Amanda Billingsley, is proud of her son.
“I was like okay let me call my son and make sure he’s okay because I had to hear this voice,” said Billingsley. “When I heard his voice, that he was okay, (it was) a big relief.”
Now, she thanks god he was there to help.
“I don’t see it as me being a hero,” he said. “It’s just pure goodness of my heart. You know this is how I was raised.”
Billingsley has stayed in contact with the family of the 12-year-old girl. He sees this as the beginning of a life-long bond with her family.