AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family and friends are rallying together to help the family of an Austin woman who was shot and seriously injured in the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Michaela Clark. Friends say Clark, who lives in southwest Austin, is a mother of two and is engaged to be married in March.
“That’s all she’s thinking about” said close friend Lindsey Crouch. “She’s just so looking forward to marrying her sweetheart, and this puts a huge financial strain on the wedding plans and her ability to even be able to do the things that are in motion right now to get the wedding in order. Her life is going to look so much different now when she comes back.”
Crouch says at this point, no one knows when that will be. Clark was shot in the back as she was trying to flee the gunfire Sunday night. The bullet was removed in surgery Monday, and Clark is stable. But now, Crouch says her friend is still bleeding heavily. Doctors have not given her an idea of when she’ll be strong enough to be released from the hospital and head home to Austin.
Meanwhile, Crouch says Clark is spending her time in the hospital trying to track down the man she believes saved her life.
“Michaela was shot in the back, fell to the ground, and some stranger, some man who we have no idea who he was, picked her up and put her over his shoulder and found a car and put her underneath the car for coverage,” Crouch said. “He laid there with her just for protection and didn’t leave. He got her medical help and got her in an ambulance.”
Crouch says her friend believes she remembers the man saying he’s in the US Navy Reserve. She’s been searching for him online and even enlisting help from friends.
“She’s looking for him so she can say thank you and just express her utmost gratitude for helping save her life,” Crouch said. “We really feel like it was a guardian angel who just swept in and got her to safety.”
Her community back home in Austin is picking up where that man left off. Friends and neighbors are raising money for Clark’s family, organizing cooking meals for them when she returns, and even cleaning her home ahead of her return.
Crouch says Clark is one of the most generous people she knows, adding that recently, Clark raised money for Hurricane Harvey victims and even loaded up her car with school supplies and delivered them to classrooms on the coast.
“Michaela’s the type of mom who shows up for you in your greatest time of need,” Crouch said.
Now, she adds, it’s the community’s turn to give back to Clark.
“We’re are all super grateful that her life was spared, but we do know that there is a long road ahead of her,” Crouch said. “We just want her to feel welcome when she comes back to Austin and just to know that this community wraps their arms around her.”