Survivors Speak - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR--Brad Bean Reports

Survivors Speak

August 11, 2005--Posted at 10:37 PM CST

JONESBORO-- When unfortunate incidents happen like the one on March 24th 1998, families and friends of the victims mourn for years. It seems people across the country tend to remember those who died, more so than the victims who survived. Those are the ones who live... live with the scars on the surface and down deep. Crystal Barnes and Brandi George are survivors.

Brandi George in 1998: "I thought it was firecrackers, but we started seeing people get down. I seen one of the teachers get shot and holding one of the kids."

Brandi George today: "We were kind of just standing there for a couple of minutes and then you started hearing the sounds, but you think it is just fireworks or something."

Crystal Barnes said, "We heard like loud noises, and I heard run. So I turned around and something hit my back, and I started running then something had hit my leg."

I asked what it felt like to be shot twice.

Barnes said, "Well, because I thought I was asleep, I thought someone had hit me in the back to wake me up.  I thought my leg was asleep, because I couldn't really feel it that well."

I asked what Crystal's life was like now, seven years after the incident.

Barnes said, "It is basically normal. I go to work, and I go to school. I am engaged. I have leg problems, and I am sure that I am going to have to have it replaced, because it went through my knee. Right now I can handle it. It is not too big a deal."

I asked if Mitchell were standing right here in front of them, right now, what would they say to him, what would they want to know?

George said, "I don't know what I would exactly say to him, but I would probably ask why they did this. I mean, what actually drove them to do something that bad. Kill five people, I mean why come to a school like that?"

Barnes said, "I would like to know what would drive someone to do that, and how would you think of even doing something like that, and to actually plan it out to the tee? How do you have no feeling to other people to do that?"

George said, "He gets to come back, the other five don't. It doesn't seem right. Even though they may have been 12 and 13, they shouldn't be treated like they were that age."

Barnes said, "I don't want to see him ever. Some people think that it would be cleansing to ask him and confront him, but I don't ever want to see him in my life ever again because that is over. I don't want it."

Because Mitchell Johnson has slipped under the radar, Crystal Barnes and Brandi George don't know what he looks like, which is probably a good thing.

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