West Liberty-Salem High School student Logan Cole was shot one year ago today in the chest in a school restroom.
Logan remembers much of that day and the shooting.
“I remember that I was going to a mock trial competition in the morning and I remember going to school and we were about to leave on the bus and I remember walking into the bathroom,” Logan said in an exclusive interview with the Springfield News-Sun. “And there Ely was with the gun.”
Ely Serna faces multiple felony charges in adult court for his alleged role in the shooting, including two counts of attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and is due back in court on Feb. 13.
Logan also recalls how the suspect was apprehended by school administrators and school staff members tended to his wounds and prayed for him.
Logan was hit by two shotgun blasts that put about 100 pellets in to his body, including one in his heart. After several surgeries and about two weeks in the hospital, he’s now mostly recovered physically, even playing a season of soccer.
“The prayers really helped a lot in that moment,” Logan said.
All for a reason
Logan carries the weight of the day with him all the time. He still wrestles with emotions.
“One thing I really learned through all of this is forgiveness and that’s kind of weird to say considering what was done to me … I don’t know when I forgave,” Logan said. “I’d say I’ve probably forgiven Ely but I mean that also doesn’t mean I don’t still get angry about it.”
Forgiveness is a continuing struggle, he said.
“I go back and get angry about it again and I have to forgive him again,” Logan said. “And it’s kind of a process. But I feel like looking back on the day, it’s kind of a bummer what happened. It’s definitely not fun but I think that it was all — I think that was all for a reason.”
Logan believes more people would have been hurt if he hadn’t run into the suspect in the restroom. Logan said he talked to Serna but declined to talk about what was said because of the ongoing legal case.
“I’m not thankful that the situation happened but I’m thankful that I went in there at the same time for the outcome that there was,” he said.
His actions earned him noticed by the U.S. Security Service in Dayton. They arranged a meeting with Logan and Vice President Mike Pence during a visit to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May.
“Logan’s heroic actions were deserving of the honor,” resident agent in charge Kevin Dye said.
After the shooting, Logan said the community embraced him.
“It was huge,” he said. “I definitely wasn’t expecting all that to happen but from the first moment — so many people came to visit me in the hospital and the fundraisers that were done for us and it was — it was all pretty overwhelming,” he said.
But as much as the community support affected Logan, his actions following the shooting also affected the community.
“Logan is definitely a Christian young man,” resident Janet Mally said. “I don’t know him personally but he is an exceptional young man.”
“He’s been very forgiving,” resident Jack King said. “Most people would say, ‘Yes, it’s tough to forgive, but I can tell he believes in God. His faith is what did it. It’s the way he was taught and he comes from a good family.”
Logan has shown his appreciation to the community by donating $22,000 from fundraisers held in his honor to the school district toward a new field house.
Logan said the events of Jan. 20, 2017, should be remembered.
“I definitely believe it should not be forgotten,” Logan said. “I think that forgetting it won’t do us any good. Like a lot of the things that happened in our past, we can learn from it.”
Logan’s actions and perspective of the shooting has inspired many, West Liberty-Salem Superintendent Kraig Hissong said.
“Logan is an amazing individual who has handled this whole situation far better than anyone expected,” he said. “He has been strong the whole time.
Many people can learn how to deal with adversity by watching Logan, Hissong said.
“He is an amazing example of how to handle a situation like this,” he said. “You don’t see a lot of anger or him asking, ‘Why me?’ It’s perseverance.”