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CONNECTS AGAINST CRIME: Kirkwood Shooting Victim

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Confined to her wheel chair, devoid of the use of her legs, Shannon Gaskins reflects on the day her life changed forever.

12:30 hit, I opened the door, Gaskins said. 12:35, I leave in an ambulance not walking again. I was just shot at point blank.

Back in April 2012, 25 year old Teran Huff shot her at point blank range at her Kirkwood Commons Apartment. Gaskins was paralyzed from the waist down. The road to recovery has been tough for the 23 year old. Even getting and her day started in the morning is a challenge.

I have to get into my wheelchair, get into my shower, take my shower, get out, get back in my bed, get dressed, get back in my wheelchair and leave, Gaskins said.

It's all given her a new perspective on life.

I live everyday like it's my last. Gaskins said.

The shooting shined a light on an area with a reputation for crime, both violent and non-violent, but police say things are changing.

We've made great strides in making that neighborhood safer, said Lt. Tobey Harrison with the Cedar Rapids Police Department.

Looking at 2012 vs 2013, overall arrests were down by nearly 100, with fewer burglaries. The number of assaults did increase from 44 to 68, but police say that may be a sign that people feel more comfortable reporting them.

New partnerships with the college that hold students more accountable for crime off campus are making a difference. Apartment complexes are also growing a stronger bond with police.

We have a contact person that we're able to work with on things we identify, and they're able to communicate with us when they're having issues.

As for Shannon, she has since moved away from the area, essentially leaving that life and those memories behind.

Now her eyes are fixed on a new goal.

Hopefully we'll find some sort of way to fix my back, Gaskins said. That's just a wish though.

Huff was sentenced to 55 years in prison last summer. As for Gaskins, the recovery continues. Her life is getting ready to change again - she's getting married later this year.
 
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