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Sniper shooting survivor is fully recovered and savoring life
Caroline Seawell has fully recovered from the 2002 sniper attack in Spotsylvania and lives in South Carolina.
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"My second thought was this must have been a copy-cat killer," she said.
Seawell, then 43, and her husband, Dave, had heard about the five deadly shootings in less than two hours the day before in D.C. and Montgomery County, Md.
"I had been watching the news and, of course, we never dreamed he'd come down that far," she said.
"We weren't even worried about it, truthfully."
She never thought harm would come to her. It had always been her husband who was in the high-risk situations.
He had been a police officer. He had flown combat missions in the Gulf War while serving in the Air National Guard. He was a commercial pilot for American Airlines.
He knew the pilot killed on American Airlines Flight 77 when it was hijacked on Sept. 11 and flown into the Pentagon.
That event's 10-year anniversary weighed far more heavily on her mind than this one.
"I guess because the devastation was so great of 9/11," Seawell said.
MOVING ON LOW-KEY
The Seawells moved from Spotsylvania County to Caroline's hometown of Columbia, S.C., in 2005.
She was a stay-at-home mom in 2002, but eventually began working outside the home.
When Muhammad was executed in Virginia in November 2009, co-workers learned she had been one of the sniper victims.
The next year, her younger son learned about it.
Older son Sean was a 17-year-old senior at Spotsylvania High School at the time of the shootings and remembers the ordeal.
Younger son Ryan, now 14, was just 3. He was dealing with an ongoing medical problem at the time and was at preschool when his mother was shot.
Ryan found out about it when producers of a 2010 cable program hosted by William Shatner of "Star Trek" fame called to ask her to participate in a segment about the sniper shootings.
Ryan peppered her with questions then. But, according to his mother, the then-12-year-old was more interested in the benefits of her participation in the TV program.
"He was more excited about going to California than me being shot," she said lightheartedly.
'SAVED FOR A REASON'
Caroline Seawell, now 53, feels fine and rarely thinks about her near-death experience, but that doesn't mean it didn't have a long-term impact.