Girl, 15, shot in Ore. mall cheats death twice

By Elizabeth Chuck, NBC News

A teenager from Oregon has survived her second brush with death in just the past few months.

Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was rushed to a hospital Tuesday in critical condition after a masked gunman sprayed bullets around a suburban Portland, Ore., mall during the height of holiday shopping season. After surgery, she had been upgraded from critical to stable condition, according to a statement from her family.

Just a few months ago, Shevchenko survived another tragedy: a head-on car crash.

"[T]he Shevchenko family were the survivors of a fatal head-on collision. Kristina, 15 years old, was also in this crash. One of nine that were in the vehicle," the family's statement said.

The family described Shevchenko as a "happy child" who is "active in church," and said "by the mercy of God she is now in stable condition, but has a long road to recovery."

Shevchenko, who had been with a friend when she was shot, regularly walked through the mall around the time of the shooting -- which happened at about 3:20 p.m. on Tuesday -- to get home from school, her family said. 

The motive for the shooting, which sent Christmas shoppers and people waiting in line to see Santa running for cover, wasn't clear.

Several witnesses reported hearing the suspect announce, "I am the shooter," before he began firing.

"All of a sudden, I just heard a series of gunshots… boom, boom, boom, boom, boom… whatever the shooter was shooting at, they continued to shoot," shopper Bill Hoff told NBC station KGW.

Macy's employee Mariah Saldana told KGW that she was sitting by the door "watching what was going on, and then some guy just ran by in a white mask and an assault rifle, and then I look out because I hear a few shots and he's … and he's sitting there and he's pointing the gun at some people."

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