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Trolley Square Victim Says She Refuses to 'Harbor Anger'

Trolley Square Victim Says She Refuses to 'Harbor Anger'



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- From her hospital bed, still recovering from gunshot wounds and grieving the loss of her daughter, Carolyn Tuft says she refuses to harbor anger.

"That's the exact opposite of the life I want to reflect," Tuft, 44, said.

Tuft was among nine people shot by 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic on Feb. 12 at the Trolley Square shopping mall. Five died, including Tuft's 15-year-old daughter, Kirsten Hinckley. Tuft and three other survived, although all were critically injured.

Talovic, a Bosnian refugee, was also killed that night in a shootout out with police and was buried Saturday in his native village of Talovici, Bosnia.

At the mall, Tuft and Kirsten were shopping for Valentine's Day cards when the shooting began. Tuft walked to the store window to see what was going on.

She saw a flash, heard a bang and then felt shattered glass rip into her arm.

Tuft said she and her daughter were crouching on the floor when the teenager with the 12-gauge shotgun came into the store.

Tuft said she looked up and into Talovic's eyes. He raised the gun and shot her through the right arm and lung before walking away. Then, he returned and Tuft said she could feel the muzzle on her back as he fired again.

Lying on the floor, choking on her own blood, Tuft saw her fatally wounded daughter and inched toward her to tell her she loved her.

"I thought Kirsten and I were going to leave together," she said. "I felt like I had only a few minutes at most."

Now Kirsten's picture sits to the right of Tuft's hospital bed. The youngest of Tuft's three children, Kirsten was the most like her mother -- sharing a love of baking and cats.

"Everyone thinks they can put things off, they'll have more time," she said. "Don't think someday you'll get there. You might not."

Tuft said her goal is to get the most from each day and watch her children celebrate their lives.

For now, though, she must heal. Her right arm is numb and atrophy is setting in to her muscles. She's started rehabilitation exercises and says she could go home sometime this week, although still to a hospital bed. There she'll need constant care.

But Tuft is a survivor, her 20-year-old son Scott Hinckley said. Five years ago, she narrowly survived when a drunk driver ploughed into her minivan. The accident left plates and screws beneath Tuft's face.

The Trolley Square shooting, left pellets around her vital organs.

"I shouldn't be alive," she said.

Funeral services for Kirsten, which had been on hold as her mother recovered, are planned for Wednesday in Salt Lake City.

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Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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