‘One day at a time’ – Applebee’s shooting victim makes strides in recovery, recalls traumatic night

Missouri

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – One of the victims in the Applebee’s shooting is now speaking out for the first time as she recovers in the hospital.

LaKeshia Finch is in great spirits. She has a long road ahead of her, but when you hear what’s keeping Finch motivated, you’ll understand why she’s not giving up.

It’s the recovery that’s a long time coming. Finch out of her hospital bed and putting her best effort forward in therapy.

“I’m pretty much partially paralyzed from the waist down, at this point,” Finch said. “We’re hoping that the sensation with the therapy and once the swelling goes down, but at this point we just don’t know.”

Finch is relearning how to use her bones and muscles again but is already making great strides.

As Finch tries to keep her spirits high, she says it’s hard not having flashbacks of what happened inside a St. John’s Applebee’s restaurant in late June.

She and her best friend, Kimberly Penton, stopped in to grab a bite to eat when moments later the unimaginable happened.

“It’s crazy,” she said. “I still feel like, I still have disbelief because it’s just like, ‘Am I really going through this because I went to get something to eat at Applebee’s?’”

Penton died instantly; Finch played dead on the ground until EMS transported her to the hospital.

Finch, now in therapy, had no other choice but to watch her best friend’s funeral from the hospital bed while she recovered.

Finch said she’ll never forget that smile.

“She used to tell me all the time, ‘If you’re always smiling people can never say, ‘Look at her, she’s so mean.’ All you can say is, ‘She’s so nice,’” Finch said laughing. “She was such a good-hearted person.”

Through this recovery process, Finch’s family and friends have been her biggest supporters – staying by her side day in and day out.

Then, when she needed a little bit more inspiration – this happened.

Finch watched as the third victim, Kinloch firefighter Arlydia Bufford, was released from rehab.

“Seeing her go home yesterday, that just gave me more push,” Finch said. “Because it’s just like if she can do it, I can do it and it just gave me more push.”

Finch said she highly anticipates the day when she’ll be able to do the same.

Until then, she’s going to continue to pray and thank God for his blessings of giving her another chance.

“One day at a time,” Finch said.

LaKeisha has a long road to recovery and every little bit helps.

Her family is still collecting donations through GoFundMe and there’s an upcoming kickball fundraiser.

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