VA Tech survivor tells story at Palm Beach Film Festival - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

VA Tech survivor tells story at Palm Beach Film Festival

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Nearly four years ago, he was shot in one of the deadliest massacres by a single gunman in American history. Thirty-two people lost their lives in the Virginia Tech shootings. One of the survivors told his story here in South Florida.

Colin Goddard's film, "Living at 32," was featured Sunday at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Goddard is hoping his movie sends a message.

"Right there is where the bullet came in," explained Colin Goddard, pointing to a faint mark, still visible on his left leg.

Colin Goddard still has the scars.

"Over the years, it's faded a little bit," he said and then points out a more prominent mark. "Right here is where a screw was inserted and removed a couple of months ago to hold the titanium rod that keeps the center of my leg in place."

Goddard was one of 57 people injured during the Virginia Tech Massacre.

"We had bullets coming through our door," he said.

Goddard was in French class at the time.

"It was just ten minutes of constant gunfire," he said. "You just heard - "bang, bang, bang" and then a clip change and then more bangs. There was nowhere to go."

Goddard was shot four times: once above his left knee, twice in his hips and once in his right shoulder.

"When I felt the force of the bullet," he said, "when I felt the blood trickle down my leg, when I smelled the propellant,  which smelled to me like fireworks, all those kind of sensations coming together that's when I realized, this guy is shooting people. This guy is trying to kill people."

Goddard knows he is one of the fortunate ones. Thirty-two victims, including some of his classmates and one of his teachers, did not survive. His own life is not the same.

"The most profound effect that I notice is it opened my eyes to a whole new world that I knew nothing about," he said.

Goddard is devoting his life to something he's now passionate about: advocating for stronger gun control.

"The shooter actually took two background checks to buy the two guns that he had and he passed both of them," he explained, "despite the fact that he had a record of mental illness."

That's the reason Goddard is telling his story. "Living for 32" - named for the 32 people who lost their lives at Virginia Tech - was the result.

Goddard said he's not against gun ownership; however, he says he wants to see more done to keep guns from falling into dangerous hands.

"It's a small layer of protection that we have in this country that will make it more difficult for dangerous people to obtain weapons while still respecting the second amendment for those who are law-abiding and responsible," Goddard explained. "I think if you run background checks every time a gun is sold to a stranger, then we will not only make shootings at universities less likely to happen, but shootings anywhere less likely to happen."

Goddard now works for the Brady Campaign in Washington, D.C. The organization is named for Ronald Reagan's press secretary, James Brady, who was shot and paralyzed during an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. Goddard brings his film to film festivals, like the Palm Beach International Film Festival, schools and even to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. To learn more about Colin Goddard's film and work, go to: www.livingfor32.com or www.bradycampaign.org.

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