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Strength, confidence carry her through trauma

(ran PC edition)

When Ana Arrambide says she doesn't fear death anymore, you have to believe her.

She had a .22-caliber handgun aimed at her face during a robbery. She saw the trigger pull back, and yet heard only an impotent click. No shot. No bullet.

It happened on Mother's Day last year at the Loop Pizza Grill. She and her manager, Mike Robie, had just opened the store when two gunmen came in and shot Robie 11 times before one of them turned his gun on her.

Defying the odds, Robie survived the shooting and has recovered. Now he and Arrambide, 17, are back at work counting the days until Sept. 10, when they will testify against the two men accused of trying to kill them.

"They need to stay away from anybody and everybody for the rest of their lives," she said. Earl Hinson and Harold Wolf are charged with the murder of Eduardo Natal and the attempted murder of Arrambide and Robie. Natal, a Windy City Pizza driver, was robbed during a bogus pizza delivery the night before Arrambide and Robie were attacked.

Hinson, 22, and Wolf, 28, initially gave incriminating statements, according to police reports. However, both men have pleaded not guilty. Their attorneys, Mark Hershock and Matthew Farmer, declined to comment on the case.

For Arrambide, dealing with the aftermath of being held at gunpoint did not involve psychiatric sessions, although she said she did go once, at the insistence of family and friends. Nor did the healing process involve anger or fear.

She considers her life a gift, and the thought of almost dying has reaffirmed her Christian faith.

"I definitely believe that God was a big part of this ... Things happen _ you have a certain plan in your life," she said. "I feel that what happened, happened to me because it was something I had to go through in order for me to be stronger."

Her faith, combined with Robie's enthusiasm and his miraculous recovery, explains why Arrambide does not feel rage toward the two men.