As Maria Christiansen lay on Cole hall's floor with her blood pooling around her head, Chief Donald Grady found her and dragged her to the end of the lecture hall aisle and elevated her feet to slow her blood loss. Grady asked her questions to keep her alert and distract her from her injuries. He remembers seeing shotgun pellet wounds along her throat and from her nose to upper chest.
As she lay there, Christiansen said she was interested in law enforcement. he stayed with her until the paramedics arrived. A helicopter would later take her to Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. There, she and her family learned that the shotgun pellets had destroyed her trachea, esophagus and vocal chords.
She underwent five hours of surgery that night, with doctors giving her only a 50 percent chance of surviving the neck reconstruction. They told her family to say their goodbyes before they began.