Woman Survives Being Shot 11 Times, After Trying To Dump Boyfriend
She Survived 11 Bullets And Now Ponders The uture
Before killing himself, Terry Weinard shot Tammy Peterson over and over. Doctors call her story a miracle, her spirit an inspiration.
Moorehead, Minnesota - Terry Weinard needed just one bullet to end his own life. He shot himself in the head on Nov. 11 in the house he shared with Tammy Peterson.
He had tried minutes earlier to kill her, firing a .22 rifle at close range as he chased her to a neighbor's doorstep. The first shot struck her in the hip.
Tammy Peterson, 47, of Warroad was trying to end a relationship last November when her boyfriend shot her 11 times before killing himself. She's been through several surgeries and has more to come, but she has impressed her doctors with her recovery.
"I thought, 'Just go down. Don't scream. Let him think he got me good,' " she said. "But he shot me again. He kept shooting: Bam! Bam! Bam!
"I thought it was six or seven times. They told me later it was 11."
Last week she lay paralyzed from the waist down in a Moorhead nursing home, waiting for a sixth operation and trying to comprehend what happened, what it might mean for the rest of her life.
"She's a remarkable woman," said Dr. Ann O'Connor Sandgren, a clinical psychologist who works with Peterson.
"I'm impressed by this woman's resilience," she added. "She's having to endure a lot of physical healing, but the mind has to heal, too.
"The big challenge is in restoring hope that life is still good."
At Christmas 2002, she and Weinard moved north to Warroad. In time, Tammy took a job at the drugstore, owned by her new neighbors. She liked the work, made friends, joined a church, kept fishing and got a dog, a Pomeranian she named Tiffany.
But Weinard turned moody and distant, she said, and long before the shooting they had retreated into largely separate lives. He wasn't always working. They didn't eat together and rarely spoke, and when she went to Bible study he was more likely at a bar.
"My bedroom was upstairs," she said. "He just kind of stayed downstairs."
She didn't fear him, she said. He wasn't violent. But by late 2003, "I got tired of it, and I asked him to leave."
He told her he was sick.
"He said it was cancer of the stomach, and he told me he had six months to a year to live," she said. "He had nobody else, so I let him stay."
Six months passed. A year.
"I asked him what was happening -- why there was no change in him -- and he'd get mad and tell me it was none of my business," Peterson said.
Again, she told him to leave.
"I wanted to get on with my life, maybe meet someone who cared about me."
He was to leave by Nov. 15.
On Nov. 11, Peterson left work at the drugstore at 6 p.m.
"A girlfriend picked me up," she said. "It was our Bible study night, and she drove me home so I could get my books. He was there, but we didn't talk. I went to Bible study, and when we came back I was surprised he was still there. He usually went out drinking."
As Peterson stepped out of the car, her friend asked, "Are you OK?"
"I'll be fine," she said.
Weinard, 54, was downstairs. Peterson went upstairs. Over the next two hours she heard him step outside to smoke two or three times.
Then he came upstairs.
"Out of the corner of my eye, I could see he had the gun by his leg," she said. "I was sitting on a couch, and he sat in a chair across from me."
He aimed the .22 at her as she sat frozen in terror, clutching her dog. "He said, 'I'm sorry, Tiffany, that you won't have Tammy anymore.' "
Peterson pleaded for her life. She told Weinard that God had plans for him. That angered him; he didn't share her faith. He sneered at her invocations of God's purpose and accused her of belonging to a cult.
As they sat facing each other, Peterson watched the rifle barrel dip to the floor. "I jumped off the couch fast and ... used all the might I had and pushed, and he fell on the floor."
She ran out the door and to the neighbors' house.
"I heard Terry behind me," she said. "I looked back and he was squatting down by the garage, pointing the gun at me. And he shot me."
As pain ripped through her hip, "I wanted to scream out," she said. "But I didn't."
A bullet tore through Peterson's left arm, shattering bone. Another struck her lower back. Weinard shot her twice in the abdomen, once in the leg, again and again around the hip.
"I know he was out to make sure I was dead."
As she lay bleeding on her neighbors' steps, the neighbors came out and chased Reinard off, Warroad Police Chief Robert Cudabeck said. "That was pretty brave of them," he said. "One of the bullet fragments we found was in their screen door."
The neighbors had called 911 as soon as the shooting started, and within two minutes Peterson heard the sirens of approaching police cars.
"Then I screamed," she said. "I screamed, 'Oh please, someone help me!' "
She remained conscious as an ambulance took her to a hospital in Roseau, a 22-mile trip she had made many times.
"We're almost to the hospital," she told the ambulance attendants at one point.
"How do you know?"
"We just went over the railroad tracks."
The attendants laughed, taking it as a good sign. But there was no joking when doctors said she had to go to MeritCare Medical Center in Fargo, North Dakota, a 45-minute plane ride.
"I don't think I have 45 minutes," Peterson told them.
At Fargo, surgeons found gunshot wounds to her stomach and liver. They removed her damaged spleen and five sections of ripped intestine, set bones in her arm and hip and worried about the bullet that had pierced her back and clipped her spine.
"It's a miracle that she's alive," said Dr. Luis Garcia, a trauma surgeon.
"By the time she got here, she was in shock and very unstable," he said. "We stopped the bleeding and removed the injured intestine. Then we left her abdomen open to do a second, reconstructive surgery eight to 10 hours later."
It's unclear "how much she'll recover of the motor function in her legs, but the neurosurgeon is optimistic," Garcia said.
Peterson was on a ventilator, in and out of consciousness, for three weeks. Pain still seizes her at times, but she is mending. With Sandgren's help the flashbacks have faded.
She may need more surgeries, and she faces a long regimen of physical therapy. Once she can handle three hours of therapy at a time, she'll move to a sister's house in Bemidji, Minn., and continue therapy on an outpatient basis.
"I want to get up and walk," she said. "I want to get on with my life."
"The doctor said he had never seen someone shot 11 times and live, though," Peterson said.
Warroad police found Reinard in the house, a gunshot to his right temple. He was flown to Fargo, but he died en route.
When Peterson seemed ready, a sister told her.
"I felt bad that he had taken his own life," she said. "But another part of my reaction was knowing that I don't ever have to worry about him coming back to finish me off."
She is confined to bed. She hurts. But on Nov. 11, she took 11 bullets, and today she lives.
"I was very lucky."
If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance...Baffle 'em with bullshit
My Karma ran over my Dogma
God WAS my co-pilot...But, we crashed in the mountains and...I had to eat him
I'm suffocating in what's become of me...
The rancid remains of what I used to be
what happened to a simple break-up?a mutual "go fuck yourself i hope you die-walk out the door forever" breakup.everybody's all into this murder-suicide thing.
how 'bout a nice greasy pork sandwich served inna dirty ashtray?
Budduskey:i am the motherfucking shore patrol,motherfucker!i am the motherfucking shore patrol!give this man a beer.
"Repent, Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman.
"Get stuffed!" replied the Harlequin, sneering.