Sutherland Springs shooting survivor says being alive is enough

By Steve Spriester - Anchor, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas - David Colbath was shot eight times in the Sutherland Springs church shooting, and for the first time, he's sharing his story with KSAT-12 in a series chronicling his road to recovery.

David Colbath believes the man who shot him eight times and killed 26 members of the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs is a coward.

"It's a cowardly, cowardly thing to do," Colbath said. "Shooting up a building with unarmed people, unarmed people that are there to worship their God, wherever that may be. It's a cowardly thing to have done."

Colbath still has a bullet lodged in his side — the X-rays and scars show the other wounds he suffered as the gunman sprayed bullets. He was hit in the arm, back and both ankles — eight shots in all.


"I remember the shot in the arm," Colbath said. "Myself and others were trying to crawl under the pews to the front. I got to the front left and kind of got stopped, and no I don't really remember them. I remember the shot to the arm, and I remember being shot in the back."

Cyndi Grayson, Colbath's sister, recounted the moment she was told her brother was hurt.

"We were told he was shot multiple times. That's all we knew," Grayson said. "We didn't know where. We didn't know anything else."

For Colbath's sister, the shooting at a church she once attended was unthinkable. She rushed to Brook Army Medical Center where Colbath was giving a paramedic last-minute instructions.


"I told her to tell my son and daughter I loved them," Colbath said.

From that moment, family roles reversed. The man who prided himself on taking care of the family, would be the one who needed help.

Colbath, a mechanic and builder by trade, is slowly getting use of his hands back thanks to surgeries and therapy. He said his progress -- and his survival alone -- is miraculous. Grayson said it's a miracle that has reminded them to take every day as a blessing. 

Colbath is rehabbing alongside wounded warriors at the Center for the Intrepid. He said seeing those wounded in combat have pushed him to stay motivated in the recovery process.

"It's kind of hard to look over at a wounded warrior who's lost a leg or a leg and two (arms) and want to slough off when they're doing their part to get better," Colbath said.

Whether Colbath will ever return to the same person he was before the shooting remains unknown, but his sister said the fact that he's still with them is enough.

Colbath continues to worship at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs and holds regular Bible studies. He is also planning on sharing his story of faith with other churches and communities.


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