An Indiana State Police helicopter lifts off after a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Noblesville, Ind., on Friday, May 25, 2018. A male student opened fire at the suburban Indianapolis school wounding another student and a teacher before being taken into custody, authorities said.
Robert Scheer—AP
By Kate Samuelson
June 5, 2018

The girl critically wounded in the May 25 shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana was shot seven times in the face, neck, hand, and upper chest area, her family has told a local TV station.

Ella Whistler, 13, underwent emergency surgery after she was shot by a male student who opened fire in his classroom about 9 a.m. Science teacher Jason Seaman, 29, was shot three times when he tackled the student, who was taken into custody. Seaman has been hailed as a hero, but claims he took “the only acceptable actions” that day.

In a statement to WRTV-TV, Ella’s family confirmed that she “suffered very serious, life-threatening injuries from being shot seven times in the face, neck, hand, and upper chest area.” Her injuries included collapsed lungs and a broken jaw, clavicle, multiple neck vertebras and ribs, as well as a severed vertebral vein, significant nerve damage and numerous related injuries. The 13-year-old is now in a stable condition in Riley Hospital in Indiana, but “faces a long road to recovery.”

“Ella’s parents are proud of her incredible bravery and strength in facing this unspeakable tragedy,” said her family in the statement. “She hopes to eventually return to her favorite activities of volleyball, cheerleading, and show choir.”

A Go Fund Me campaign set up by a friend and co-worker of Ella’s father to help the family pay for her medical expenses and bills has already raised $95,518, surpassing the $90,000 goal. “Please feel free to donate if possible or just keep Ella and her family in your prayers during her road to recovery,” the page says.

Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com.

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