A young Australian tourist who was celebrating the end of her studies with her best friend in the United States has been shot in the face during a New Orleans gunfight.
The 21-year-old Amy Matthews was shot along with 10 other bystanders when two gunmen began firing shots on Sunday.
A bullet blasted through Amy’s right cheek and exited through her top lip, causing massive injuries to her mouth.
“It shattered the top of my palate in four places and ripped my tongue in several places,” Matthews said. “Because the bullet was so hot, it just ripped through my teeth and burnt a lot of my gums. They had to remove a lot of dead gum.”
The political science and economics graduate from Perth received 30 stitches in her tongue and had a metal support attached to the roof of her mouth.
“I can replace my teeth and my mouth will heal but if it had have been a few centimeters towards my brain or my jugular, who knows?”
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu visited Matthews, who examined US gun laws for her thesis at the University of Western Australia.
“Because of last year and all the little kids who were shot, I thought something would definitely be done but it just shows you how embedded the whole gun culture is in the US,” she said.
“This won’t deter me from coming back but it makes me angry that the government can’t be strong enough to say, ‘No, something needs to be done’,” she added.
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