allen mall shooting

“My mental health is going to be my priority as my body heals,” says man who survived Allen Premium Outlet Shooting

After being shot multiple times, Irvin Walker has been out of the hospital for two weeks but is still adjusting to his new normal.

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It has been a month since a gunman opened fire on shoppers at the Allen Premium Outlets on May 6, killing eight and injuring seven others. One of the victims who survived the attack is Irvin Walker.

Walker, 46, spent two weeks in the hospital at Medical City McKinney after being shot multiple times and sustaining injuries from bullet fragments and glass to his chest, shoulder, neck and head.

He dropped off his girlfriend at a store and went to park when the gunman encountered his car sending dozens of bullets through his front windshield.

The last time Walker spoke with reporters was on May 16, when he was brought out in a wheelchair at the hospital. Despite the situation, he had a big smile on his face, a testament to his positive outlook on life even in the worst of times.

Walker was released from the hospital on May 23 and has spent about two weeks home, adjusting to his new normal.

"I've had some good days and some really bad days," said Walker from his attorney's downtown Dallas office on Tuesday.

He said he's still adjusting to being home, compared to the hospital where he was awakened every couple of hours to be checked on.

Walker said physically, he has a high tolerance for pain but is still dealing with the effects of being shot and the surgeries that followed.

"I have awkward times sleeping, resting on my back when I turn. When the medicine wears off, I feel certain sensations in my chest, my neck. So, you know some days I'm good, and some days I'm not. I'm just I'm just looking forward to the day that I can sleep a whole night straight through. That would be a blessing," explained Walker.

He said he's taking it one day at a time and that it's an uphill battle as he deals with the physical and emotional trauma of what he experienced. Walker says while he's grateful to have another day with his daughter, family, friends and fraternity brothers, he knows that there's a lot of work to do mentally.

"I know I have to work towards a sound mind, I need a healthy mind and I'm working on that I'm going through some trauma counseling to manage that process of healing," said Walker.

Walker explained that having constant support is very important as friends, families and even strangers check in on him daily. He said it means the world to him and is needed as he navigates through this unchartered territory and on days where he hasn't had much contact with other people, he felt a difference.

Walker is a faithful man and believes in the power of prayer and says he's grateful God gave him a second chance and continues to reflect on it.

Irvin Walker has been out of the hospital for two weeks. Walker spoke with NBC 5’s Sophia Beausoleil about his journey to recovery.

“It's one thing to be grateful, it’s another thing to do something with it. Right? You know, you have another chance what are you going to do the same old things? No, you have to be prompted to embrace change," said Walker.

“I have a purpose here on Earth, right because ever could have something. It could have went a different way. All right. So I'm just seeking out what that direction is from God, on how I can bring smiles to people's faces, encourage them during other traumatic situations. It's the early stages that determine, you know how wide God is going to take me through this. But you know, I'm open to being used as a positive aid to those that are suffering," said Walker.

He said while he was in the hospital, another victim told Walker he saved his life. Walker wouldn't go into detail how, but said, "he was a positive thinker through this tragedy, just as I am, and we connected in that in that way and he wanted to invite me over to his rehab room and thanked me for helping him you know through this."

Walker, originally from Louisiana, said he hasn't been able to go back to work given his physical and mental state. He said it is something that is on the back of his mind since he has no income coming in, but is listening to those in his close circle to focus on healing himself.

"So I have to tackle that sometime soon," said Walker who knows the medical bills will be astronomical. "I just don't know when that's going to be, I think my mental health is going to be my priority as my body heals.”

Walker said to protect his mental health, he's staying away from watching any news and doesn't want to know who the person was who gunned down innocent people.

"I just want to overcome the adversity with the tools that I have and the resources that I have to move forward. I don't want to go backward," said Walker.

There is a picture of his car, which was riddled with dozens of bullet holes. He has seen that and knows it's a miracle he survived.

"God protected me, He sent the Holy Spirit to comfort me and protect me from harm and danger. Now yes, I did have several holes in my body that I'm overcoming and he's given me the power and the strength in my mind to overcome that eventually," said Walker.

It does run through his mind the 'what if' his girlfriend was in the front seat. Walker's attorney, Daryl K. Washington, said originally Walker's girlfriend wanted to stay with him as he parked the car, but he insisted on dropping her off.

"When you look at the bullet holes in that car, there's no question had she been in that car, I don't think she would have made it," said Washington. "That is something that has been tough for not only Irvin to process, but for her to process as well."

Washington said his office is looking into the amount of security that was present at the Allen Premium Outlets. He said all they are currently aware of is of Christian LaCour, who was killed while trying to protect shoppers.

"We know that thousands of people were at that shopping mall on that particular day and we have not through my investigation and if it does exist I have not received any notice whether there was more than one security officer with thousands of people shopping," said Washington.

The gunman was shot and killed by an Allen Police officer who happened to be at the outlets responding to another call.

"We know had there not been an Allen Police Officer responding to an unrelated call, that person would have probably killed even more individuals and more people would have been injured," said Washington.

He said while his office is looking to see how much security was present that day, Washington's office is looking into the gunman, who was expelled from the military for mental health concerns.

"We believe that's an issue if the military didn't do properly reporting where you have someone in the military less than 6 months and put out, why was this information not given to gun dealers. These are issues I think we need to get under control because I think there are people who are being put out of the military daily, we need to know there are individuals who are not fit to have a gun and protect this country, why would that same person be fit to legally purchase guns and put people at risk," said Washington.

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