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FedEx mass shooting survivor unknowingly drove right up to gunman

"Close call to death,” said Earl Johnson. "It was surreal."

INDIANAPOLIS — Earl Johnson heard what he thought were firecrackers as he arrived at work at FedEx Ground just after 11:00 p.m. Thursday. But he was unknowingly pulling into a parking spot in the middle of a mass shooting. 

"As I turned back around, then I faced the shooter, right at me,” said Johnson in an interview at his west Indianapolis home Thursday afternoon. “He was up against the building just as I was coming into the parking lot. And he got me. I heard the first shot come through the windshield and that's when he shot me."

Johnson ducked and crawled out and then under his car as shots continued. He ran to safety when the shooter went inside the building. Eight other co-workers were shot and killed.

"Close call to death,” said Johnson. It was surreal. “But God spared me, you know, he had his angels around me."

Johnson's family counts 13 bullet holes in his car parked in the driveway.

He suffered a gunshot wound in the left shoulder and banged up his knee and elbow crawling in the parking lot.  

His wife Annie also works at the FedEx facility. She worked the shift before him, and was inside during the shooting, but unharmed.

"I haven't even begun to process it because mainly I was just focusing on the healing, taking it one step at a time to mainly make sure that that I was healing, that I didn't lose my arm, because I'm left-handed,” said Johnson. 

Johnson came home from the hospital Saturday. FedEx said Monday that four other employees are still hospitalized. The police report lists Dylan Atkins, Angela Hughey, Sandeep Kaur and Harpreet Singh as the other victims who suffered gunshot wounds but survived.

RELATED: Mass shooting at Indianapolis FedEx facility leaves 8 dead

Atkins, 19, heard popping noises as he arrived for work Thursday night. As he pulled into the FedEx parking lot, his vehicle was also blasted with bullets. Atkins was not hit by a bullet, but was injured by flying shrapnel. Atkins underwent surgery to remove a large piece of debris from his chest and doctors repaired a hole in his diaphragm. His mother, Marci Atkins, said her son's chest is covered with serious abrasions from the shrapnel and glass, but Atkins could be released from IU Health Methodist Hospital as soon as Tuesday.  

Johnson, 60, said he will return to FedEx when he fully recovers. He has worked at the facility about four years. 

He said he did not know the shooter and only knows one of the victims who died. He works in the induction area of the facility where packages come off the trucks.

"It's a miracle that I came through,” said Johnson. “I'm blessed, truly blessed. I don't take it for granted. I don't take it lightly." 

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