Victoria GwynnOn the evening of June 7, 2021, Victoria Gwynn decided to go for a walk to Ballard Park in Louisville, Kentucky, right after getting off work. As summer nights go, the humid air was punctuated by the coolness of dusk, as a warm afternoon began to transition into a cool evening. Victoria was dropped off by a family member and joined by Dajuan, her best friend. The two had a very close bond and friendship. Sometimes a person comes into one’s life, and their presence can only be described as good. Good for the mind, and good for the soul, Dajuan had a way of enriching the lives of those around him. His humor and kindness brought light into the world, a quality ubiquitously noted by those who knew him. Dajuan’s presence was a much-needed point of happiness in Victoria’s life, as Victoria had lost her brother, Christian Gwynn, 2 years previously to gun violence; specifically, a drive-by shooting.Victoria Gwynn

Around 6:00 that evening, Victoria and Dajuan were caught in the crossfire of a shooting that happened near an alley just on the edge of Ballard Park. In Victoria’s words, “...about 6:00 is when, to me, all hell broke loose. I was outside 10 minutes before even getting shot, and not even knowing why I got shot.” One bullet hit Victoria in the leg, breaking her femur and causing significant blood loss. Another bullet hit Dajuan in the head, a shot that would ultimately result in his death.

In spite of the adrenaline pumping through her body, Victoria remembers that Dajuan’s instinct, even after he was shot, was to protect her and to call for help. “I believe in his heart, he wanted to scoop me up off that ground and carry me to safety,” Victoria shared through heavy tears. Dajuan urged Victoria to contact her mom and the police, but Victoria was, “...trying to piece together in my head how I’m gonna explain to her that her daughter just got shot, knowing that my brother was shot just a couple years before.” After contacting her mother Krista and some of their friends, Victoria finally initiated the process of contacting emergency services. Dajuan continued to urge her to call the police, but ultimately blacked out. Victoria and Dajuan were taken to UofL Health. Dajuan passed en route to the hospital.Victoria Gwynn

Almost 2 years later, Victoria’s life is still shaped by an ill-fated summer evening in 2021. A life that was permanently altered by simply, “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Victoria notes that UofL Health was pivotal in her physical recovery, and still plays a part in her life as she learns to live after all that she’s been through in her short time in this world. As one considers the darkness and sadness that can understandably stem from these acts of violence, it becomes easier to understand how a trauma survivor might not want to continue living. Victoria lives every day despite what has happened to her, honoring the memory of her deceased brother and best friend. The amount of strength it takes to do so is unfathomable, as Victoria notes that when she isn’t occupied, the darkness of that day and all that she has endured finds a way back into her mind and her memory. Continuing on despite that torment is a testament to both her fortitude and spirit.

Currently, Victoria works at a local daycare, providing mentorship and companionship to Louisville youth. It’s a job that consumes much of her mental attention, and Victoria notes that when she isn’t working, her mind wanders, often to the events of June 7. As she continues to live day by day, she’ll carry the experience with her through the rest of her life.

Victoria Gwynn.


Trauma Survivor.