MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - A recent high school graduate could forever lose her voice after she was hit by a stray bullet in Uptown early Thursday morning.
Mykia Carpenter was supposed to have a party Friday, sending her off to nursing school in Chicago. Police say the shootout happened outside a business at Lyndale and Lake Avenues. In all, seven people were shot, including Mykia.
"This shouldn't be normal. This shouldn't be something that is tolerated," cousin Tera Welch said.
The Minneapolis North High School grad had just finished work as a hostess when she was shot in the neck.
"You could just be standing there and your life can change in an instant," Welch said.
A friend tried to shield Carpenter was struck in the arm. WCCO was told people held a shirt against her wound while they waited for help to arrive.
"The first thing she was able to write to her mom and her brother was 'I called 911 but they didn't come'," Welch said.
The city says officers arrived on scene within two minutes of the first 911 call. Friends didn't wait. They drove Carpenter to the hospital.
"Thank goodness for the people she was with who acted so quickly," Welch said.
The 18-year-old underwent a nine-hour surgery, and Welch says they're not sure if her voice will ever come back. She's communicating through writing.
"The bullet went through her neck and it damaged her artery, her trachea and her vocal cords," Welch said.
Carpenter dreamed of being a nurse. And is the first in her family to pursue college.
"You're talking about a kid who was in leadership programs in high school. She was a part of the volleyball team, basketball team," Welch said.
On Facebook Friday, Carpenter wrote she's awake and she's going to keep fighting.
"She was a kid going on to big things, and those big things still are going to happen for her, they're just going to be delayed," Welch said.
Welch said doctors don't yet know when Carpenter will be able to leave Hennepin Healthcare. They do anticipate more surgeries and physical therapy in her future.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with medical expenses.
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