Shooting victim may need 4 years to fully recover

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Pellets could not be removed from her right side

ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Kendal Sanders, 13, was hit in the arm when police say 12-year-old seventh-grader Mason Campbell allegedly fired into the bleachers at Berrnendo Middle School in Roswell last Tuesday.

On Monday, her family spoke about her lengthy road to recovery and what Kendal Sanders remembers about the shooting.

“She’s my world,” said Kendal Sanders’ dad, Bert Sanders. “She’s a strong person. She’s always asking us if we’re OK instead of worrying about herself.”

Kendal Sanders was sent to a Lubbock hospital Tuesday right after the shooting and was finally given the OK to return home Sunday.

“She kept saying, ‘Mom, don’t cry. I’m OK, I’m alive, I’m OK. Please don’t cry,’ ” said Kendal Sanders’ mother, Nickie Portio, on Monday.

Police say Kendal Sanders was shot by a fellow student inside the Berrendo Middle School gym. Kendal Sanders told her parents that she walked into the gym, sat in the bleachers, and that’s all she remembers about the shooting.

She says after she was shot, a teacher asked her to lead a group of students into a classroom, keep quiet and wait.

Her family says after she was shot, she didn’t stop taking care of others in a time of panic.

“Some of the blood had splattered all around her and she was trying to protect some of her friends without realizing she had been shot,” said Portio.

Kendal Sanders suffered a gunshot wound to her right arm that required two surgeries to repair.

Family members say she has very limited feeling and movement in her arm and it could be four years before she fully recovers. She starts rehab on Tuesday.

“It breaks my heart to see her like that,” said Bert Sanders.

Police have not released a motive, but Kendal Sanders’ parents don’t believe Campbell was bullied.

“She said Mason had a lot of friends,” said Portio. “She wasn’t real good friends with Mason, but she knew him and she thought he was a good kid.”

Portio says Kendal Sanders and Campbell went to bible study together. They don’t think she was targeted.

“We’re not mad at the Campbell family. We’re not mad at the Bowles. We are actually here for them,” said Portio.

Kendal’s mom says her daughter’s forgiven Campbell, but will never forget what police say he did.

“She said, ‘Mom, Mason is a good kid that made a bad, bad decision,’ ” said Portio.

Her parents say doctors found two BB pellets inside her liver and another one in her lung.

“She’s gonna always have the scars to remember and bring it back, but as strong as she is and as big as her heart is, she’s going to get through it,” Portio said.

Bert Sanders and Portio also say Kendal Sanders has pellets along the right side of her body that doctors will never be able to remove.

Kendal Sanders’ parents say the girl will be home-schooled the rest of this year, but will return to Berrendo Middle School for 8th grade.

The other victim is last week’s shooting, 12-year-old Nathanial Tavarez, is breathing on his own, officials say. He remains at a Lubbock hospital with serious injuries to his face and head.

Campbell remains at an Albuquerque psychiatric hospital undergoing a mental health evaluation.

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