A woman from suburban Portland, Oregon, who survived being shot in the face when she was caught in the middle of a gun battle appeared before city leaders this week to demand more action on gun violence.
“These wounds that you see on my face is the result of a 40-caliber bullet that punctured right through my nose,” Katie Guzenko told Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and members of the City Council on Wednesday, reported KATU2.
Guzenko, 27, an HR specialist at Amazon, was driving near Southeast 130th Avenue and Powell Boulevard in Portland on July 20 on her way to pick up silverware for a bridal shower when she heard gunshots.
“I kept driving, hoping to get out of that area … next thing I know my face is profusely bleeding,” Guzenko in a recent interview with KGW8.
Police said she was caught in the crossfire after two gunmen standing on the opposite sides of the street began firing at one another during a suspected gang-related confrontation.
One of the shooters’ bullets pierced the front passenger window in Guzenko’s car, went through her nose and came out the driver’s window.
A grisly video recorded by the shocked victim in the immediate aftermath of the shooting showed much of her face coated with a thick layer blood pouring from her wounds.
Guzenko was able to pull over and jump out of the car to call for help. She estimated that it took 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene.
Guzenko, who is a native of Ukraine and still has relatives in the war-torn country, said she never expected to experience being shot in a purportedly peaceful American city, thousands of miles away from Russian guns and artillery shells.
“My family there is reaching out to me to make sure that I’m OK, when they’re the ones in a war zone.” she said.
A day after Guzenko’s brush with death, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency over gun violence and set a goal to reduce shootings and gun-related deaths in the city by 10% over the next two years.
According to Portland Police Department’s data, in the first six months of 2022, there were 673 shootings in the city of 650,000 inhabitants, compared to the same time period in 2019 when there were 199 shootings, which represents an increase of nearly 240%.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Guzenko, appearing via video conference with scars still visible on her nose, called on the mayor and Portland’s elected officials to do more to curb gun violence.
“Mayor, given that you’ve called us a gun violence emergency, I feel like very little is being done.” Guzenko told Wheeler
The mayor replied that he did not want to “bulls— people” by making outsized promises, and that the 10% gun violence reduction goal was the “bottom threshold.” He also noted that he was working towards adding 300 cops to the force to keep the city safe.