Watch CBS News

San Bernardino attack survivor: "Every day is a struggle"

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- He was shot seven times during the San Bernardino terror attack and lived to tell.

But it’s a story he hasn’t wanted to or been able to tell before now.

CBS Los Angeles spoke to Kevin Ortiz, 24, about his ordeal. Ortiz said that speaking now about the massacre is still difficult but it was one more challenge he needed to face.

He was a newlywed at the time of the shooting.

The happiest day of his life was Nov. 14, 2015. Two weeks later, Dec. 2, would be the worst.

Now, the once-active, extroverted, carefree guy is cautious about everything.

“Everything’s different, you know? Every day is a struggle,” said Ortiz.

But he wanted to finally sit down and break his silence one year after his workplace became a war zone.

“It was almost a year ago, but it feels like it was honestly yesterday, so I try really hard to just block that out to get through my day,” he said.

His attorney also helped him with some of the more painful questions: How he was shot seven times, how he played dead, how the shooter came back.

Ortiz was hit in both thighs, his shoulder, wrist and back. Two of the bullets hit the two cellphones in his pockets, possibly saving his life.

“I’m just blessed to be alive, I am, and I thank God for that,” he said.

Alive but not well.

“Kevin suffers from the most severe form of PTSD,” said his attorney, Tina Odjaghian.

It’s an effect from a battle he never signed up for and certainly didn’t see coming.

“And his co-worker who he’d known for over a year turned into his enemy,” Odjaghian said.

“Everyone was really close, and we had really close bonds, and it really hurt, it hurts a lot still,” Ortiz said about the betrayal.

Ortiz now struggles to get out of bed in the morning or to leave his house or to talk to strangers.

Still, he’s come a long way in a year.

It took him months just to walk again. He still has hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in his back.

He credits his wife, his family and his church for getting him through it.

“I think them being by my side through this whole journey, it’s been a true blessing. I don’t think I could have did it without them.” Ortiz said.

Ortiz has hope, but he knows the future he once dreamed of has changed forever.

“I just do my best to make it through the day,” he said.

Ortiz said he wants to move on with his life and maintain his privacy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.