First responder helps save the life shooting victim from I-70 gun rampage

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CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI) - Five days after a shooting spree along I-70 Wednesday through Warren County, St. Charles County, and into St. Louis County, we heard from a gunshot victim who used her own body to shield a year-old boy from harm.

It turned out someone was looking out for her, too.

Cierra Palmer, 21, of Hawk Point, was still in intensive care at Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, Monday night.  She took a bullet in her shoulder blade in Wentzville, as a distraught, gun-toting driver led police on a chase.

She may have saved a little boy's life.

Minutes later, a stranger probably saved hers.

“I really didn’t remember much of anything,” she said.

She never saw the bullets coming.

She never saw Ray Antonacci coming either.

He still has paralysis in his left leg from a motorcycle accident in Knoxville, TN, 6 years ago.  He walks with a cane.

He’s an ambulance district administrator and trained paramedic for the Lincoln County Ambulance District.

Before anyone else go to the scene he put a tube in Cierra’s nose that stretched down to her tongue, to keep her airway open.

He started her on oxygen.

“I was just yelling in her face, ‘Cierra wake [up].  Cierra, Cierra!’She wasn’t reacting,” he said.

But she was breathing.

Cierra only remembered something breaking glass as she was driving her friend’s pickup truck--then turning to shield her friend’s son, Michael, 1, who was next to her.

She loves that boy.

“To pieces,” she smiled, drawing a labored breath.  “It was just reaction for me.  I wasn’t doing it to play hero.  I just did it.  It was a reaction…I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

It was the same way for Antonacci.

Cierra’s friend flagged him down on his way home from work.  He hopped a guard rail to get to Cierra.  No big deal he said.

Though he did think of how passersby helped him along that highway in Tennessee.

“It’s kind of karma debt I have to repay,” he said.

“I want to thank the man who pulled over and saved my daughter’s life.  Thank you.  My family appreciates it,” said Cierra’s mom, Cristy Harp, clutching her hand and crying.  “You kept my baby here, so thank you very much.”

“He didn’t have to stop and try to help me.  I’m very, very, thankful that he did.  I owe him my life,” Cierra said.

Police have the accused shooter in custody.

Cierra has a shattered shoulder blade and bullet fragments lodged near her spine and aorta. It's still unclear if she'll need surgery.   Regardless, she’ll be out of work for an extended period.

Her family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with expenses.

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