Mother paralyzed by stray bullet searches for new normal - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Mother paralyzed by stray bullet searches for new normal

The mother of two was doing laundry, her 1-year-old at her side, when shots rang out. (Source: Family photo/KMOV/CNN) The mother of two was doing laundry, her 1-year-old at her side, when shots rang out. (Source: Family photo/KMOV/CNN)
Tamara Collier is unable to move any part of her body except her head after being shot Sept. 1. (Source: KMOV/CNN) Tamara Collier is unable to move any part of her body except her head after being shot Sept. 1. (Source: KMOV/CNN)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV/CNN) - A mother is paralyzed from the neck down after a bullet fired during a police-involved shooting hit her.

"When it first happened, I thought I was dreaming," Tamara Collier said.

Though Collier struggles, she remembers Friday, Sept. 1. "I wasn't scared. I was calm," she said.

The 25-year-old mother of two was inside a house, her 1-year-old daughter nearby as they did laundry.

"When I heard the gun shots, I moved her quickly out of the way. There was another basket. When I reached for it, I got shot," she said.

Collier didn't know what was going on.

"I could not move. My body shut down, just like that. The only thing that was moving was my head," she said.

She's a patient at Kindred Hospital living with paralysis from the neck down. "It's not over. I'm a fighter," Collier said.

Devontae Morgan is accused of putting Collier in this situation. Police said he ambushed officers, and one of his shots went in the direction of Collier.

"I forgive. I'm not mad at anybody, but somebody has to be held accountable because right now, this is my life," she said.

Since the shooting, Collier depends on family like her cousin, Carla Austin. 

"I can't say I could even accept what happened to me if that happened to me. I probably could not say those words," Austin said.

Words, mostly out of frustration, tighten the bond between these cousins.

"It's tough. It's heart-breaking to see someone laying there and know they can't move," Austin said.

Paralysis means constant care. It requires love and strength. 

"I am going to fight to get home to my kids. I'm going to fight. I have to," Collier said.

"We are going to have to hug her children for her. We are going to have to take her children places," Austin said.

Collier's days are mostly spent looking out her hospital window, looking at family pictures and talking to God. 

"I am not sure what he is telling me, but I know he is using me for something great," she said. 

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