TOLEDO, Ohio — Permanent scars serve as a reminder to one of the victim's of a flare gun wound; It was a night that forever changed Deborah Price's life.
"I will always relive it,” Price said. “I will always see his eyes staring at me when he shot me."
Price's life flashed before her eyes nearly eight months ago. That was when she was getting gas and a group of teens hopped into her car. After driving for a bit, she was shot in the face with a flare gun that left scars that cut far deeper than the surface.
Tuesday Nathanial McCray was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for shooting Deborah and another victim with a flare gun. He was found guilty after entering an Alford plea.
Deborah said his sentence brings relief and the chance to move on.
"I'm happy for whatever he is going to get, I hope he does learn his lesson,” Deborah Price said of the sentence. “I'm not going to have no angst against it. I'm trying to be better for myself. I can't live in the hatred."
The horrific crime is now in the past as Price's wounds are healing. But it's been a long journey to get there.
"That was my biggest problem was dealing with me, myself and I in the mirror,” Price said. “Knowing that the mirror is looking back and showing me the scars that I will have forever."
Eight months ago, Price had a hole in her face but now with countless therapy sessions, several surgeries and other medical treatments she is on the mend and fighting for normalcy.
That hasn't been easy. She had to relearn how to talk, eat and use her facial muscles.
"It's been a battle,” Price said. “Some days I wish it was a real bullet instead of a flare gun. But I mean, by the grace of God that I am here standing and breathing so that's what I'm grateful for."
Price said every day she strives to move forward with the help of family and friends. She's unable to work because of the incident and is looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, though she hasn't let this get her down.
She said she is hopeful, hopeful specialized burn doctors can help heal her face, and that she can get back to her normal self and move past this negative time.
"There's going to be a new outlook on things as well as my surgeries,” Price said. “That's what I'm hoping for to see what that outcome is in the next couple of months."
She has additional facial surgeries scheduled this summer and is excited about the possibility of what that could mean for the rest of her life.
Ultimately, Price said she knows this has given her courage and strength to face any challenge.