Fil-Am shooting victim: I'm just happy that I'm alive

By Nadia Trinidad, ABS CBN North America Bureau Chief

Posted at Aug 03 2012 11:11 AM | Updated as of Aug 03 2012 11:51 PM

AURORA, Co. – Seventeen-year-old Ryan Lumba is finally home. The Filipino-American survivor of one of the worst mass shootings in US history spent twelve days at the University of Colorado Medical Hospital, mostly in intensive care, after surgeons removed bullet slugs in his stomach.

"I’m pretty good. I would just like to thank all those who gave cards, flowers and everyone who visited me and offered prayers.  Now I’m back home," he told ABS CBN’s North America Bureau.

Lumba was watching "The Dark Knight Rises" with his friends at Century 16 theatre, when a masked attacker gunned down dozens of of people at the packed premiere of the Batman movie.  Twelve people died and 58 were injured.

“What I remember from the shooting, the man threw the tear gas and I thought it was just a joke. My friend said,
'he’s pointing the gun at us through the tear gas,' and whatever it is, I was one of the first people shot, “ he recalled.

“I pulled my friends down. I was telling them to get down, get down. And all I remember is me in pain,” Lumba said.

The friend he forced down on the floor with him is Devon Suits, who later recounted to the Denver Post how the Fil-Am saved his life.

"I’m alive. My best friend since fourth grade, Ryan, and God saved my life, so I’m going to cherish every day. That’s enough for me. Ryan grabbed me and threw me down under the seat,” Devon Suits told the Denver Post.
"That saved me. I could look through the crack between the seats at someone in glasses with flashes going off. Then I felt like somebody punched me really, really hard in the left arm, and there was blood. At the same time, Ryan screamed,” Suits said.

Lumba, who has also suffered anxiety attacks as a result of the traumatic experience said that he tries his best to pick up the pieces from here on. 

"Being in the tragedy I was in, I just accepted the fact that it happened. I’m just moving on with life. Of course there’s a different perspective now on how to be more safe but I’m pretty good. I’m alive and I’m just happy that I’m alive," he said, on a phone interview with Balitang America.

He recently graduated from Eagle Crest High School in Aurora and planned to go to the Western State College of Colorado but that would have to wait for now.

"I’m going to take my first semester off and I’m going to college in the spring semester because I just want to rest and regain my health," he said.