By Megan Hickey

CHICAGO (CBS) — Teyonna Lofton is an accomplished 19-year-old who had to put her college dreams on hold after she was shot during violence and looting on May 31 — the same day friends and family celebrated her high school graduation. Although her gunshot wound kept her from attending college in the fall, she was determined to achieve her dream and help others along the way.

The last time CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey sat down with then 18-year-old Lofton, her badly injured arm was cradled in a sling.

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“I knew if I closed my eyes it was going to be something,” she said. “I asked them, ‘Can I close my eye?’ A nurse told me, ‘No, do not close your eyes.'”

She had just finished up her socially distanced graduation parade. She changed into a gray running suit and stopped by her local gas station.

Thats when a white SUV pulled up, and shots were fired at the crowd.

“I got shot and when I called out for help nobody came,” she said.

In the chilling surveillance video, Teyonna can be seen crawling to safety with her one functioning arm, seeking shelter behind an ice cooler.

“I always think to myself, how did I actually do it?” Lofton said. 

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Seven months later, Teyonna spoke with Hickey in the car on her ride home from physical therapy. It has been a long road: She had a vein grafted from her leg to improve the blood flow in her injured arm.

But she’s a fighter.

“I believe that it was something greater out there, out here for me and it’s like it’s finally coming true,” she said, of the fact that she has finally been cleared by her doctors.  

This week she will join the rest of her classmates at the University of New Orleans — only one semester late.

“Always, always, always believe in yourself, and always believe that you can come from, no matter how far down you is in the pit that you can come up, you can always come out on top,” she said. 

Lofton said because of this incident she has made it her mission to help stop the gun violence in her neighborhood. She is excited to study the roots of the issue in school and bring some of that knowledge back here to Chicago when she’s done.

Police never caught the person who shot Lofton, and it was not until CBS 2’s story that a police report was created for the case. That weekend 85 people were shot, 24 of them fatally. Lofton’s call for help was one of 65,000 calls that 911 dispatchers received that day. That’s 50,000 more than usual.

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Megan Hickey