“She is determined to make her dreams come true,” Meadowlake Park shooting victim’s road to recovery

Mills suffered a gunshot wound to the jaw and just recently underwent surgery
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 9:07 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - It’s been almost two weeks since the tragic mass shooting at Meadowlake Park.

One of the victims, Jarnay Mills, is a senior at W.J. Keenan High School.

Mills suffered a gunshot wound to the jaw and just recently underwent surgery after her mouth was wired shut.

Initially, Mills was rushed in for surgery and had to have her mouth wired shut, but a follow-up point didn’t show the progress doctors were hoping for.

WIS heard from the family friend who gave us an update on Mills’ journey to recovery.

“She is determined to make her dreams come true with graduation first and then on to Clemson University,” said Jami Salters, a family friend.

Determined is how family friends Jami Salters and Sinclair Salters describe Jarnay Mills the morning after she underwent an emergency surgery on her jaw.

“They actually took a piece of rib to make a bone Graf for her jawbone and right now she’s doing well,” said Salters.

Mills’ second surgery was Friday, May 12.

Salters says, “I spoke to her mom this morning. She had a restful night she’s a little sore but they’re waiting to be released from the hospital again and start the next process for healing.”

For Mills and many others impacted by that horrific night, Salters says that healing will be more than just physical but also emotional and spiritual.

The Salters set up a GoFundMe for Jarnay and her family.

They tell WIS Mills mother had to take a non-paid FMLA leave from work.

Richland County Deputies reported that 11 people were injured during the Meadowlake mass shooting, but the Salters say the GoFundMe is shedding light on how many others were impacted by that shooting.

“When the post was shared on Facebook about the GoFundMe, there’s people posting along with that saying that they knew people that were actually injured and after speaking to Jarnay’s mom on Thursday, she was saying after speaking with the victim’s advocate there were still people coming forward that were injured on that night,” said Salters.

The couple says that one teen was shot in the head but survived and another teen hit by a car had to have a hip replacement.

“And they’re some amazing kids that stepped up to help the EMT. I know there was one young man I can’t remember his name and his girlfriend who put Jarnay in a car and took her to the hospital. So, all these kids are not bad,” said Sinclair Salters.

Sheriff’s Department recently announced that two 16-year-old brothers were also arrested in connection to the shooting, but they say more arrests are on the way.

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