A Miami woman initially counted herself blessed for having survived a drive-by shooting with what she alleges a doctor told her was just a graze wound. But days later Shakena Jefferson was rushed to a trauma center where an X-ray confirmed she had been walking around with a bullet lodged in her head, according to her family.
Jefferson, 42, underwent emergency surgery on Saturday at Baptist Hospital of Miami to remove the slug from her head three days after a doctor at another hospital is said to have bandaged a wound near her left temple and sent her home with antibiotics, her wife, Janet Medley, told ABC News on Monday.
"We are so grateful to be here. So grateful to be alive," Medley, who was injured when she dove for cover, said from her bed at Baptist Hospital, a floor below where Jefferson, her partner of 21 years, was still recovering.
Detective Argemis Colome of the Miami-Dade Police Department told ABC News that the shooting unfolded about 7:30 p.m. last Tuesday in the southwest part of the city and left Jefferson and two other victims with gunshot wounds.
Colome said on Monday that no arrests have been made and that investigators are still trying to identify multiple shooters, who witnesses said were riding all-terrain vehicles and fled the area after firing shots at a car.
He stated that all of the victims in the shooting are gay but said investigators have not classified the shooting as a hate crime.
"We're definitely looking into it as a very violent crime. We'll see if we get more information and if it does come to that then obviously there will be an additional charge that we can add," Colome said. "As of now, we don't have enough to determine that. We're not discarding it, but we don't have enough right now to definitely make that an additional charge."
Clive Khouri, who was also wounded in the shooting, told ABC affiliate station WPLG-TV in Miami that he was driving with a friend in the South Miami Heights neighborhood when gunmen on ATVs suddenly pulled up next to his car and opened fire.
"When I tried to speed off, to come around this corner, they kept trying to shoot," Khouri told WPLG.
He said his passenger was shot in the head and was in critical condition.
Medley said that she and Jefferson were preparing to go grocery shopping and were getting into a car outside their house when bullets started to fly.
"The guy must have had an automatic weapon because I can still hear the gunshots in my ears, 'Pop, pop, pop, pop.' It wouldn't stop," Medley told ABC News.
She said she banged her knee badly opening the car door, but was never able to get inside the vehicle. (Medley was re-admitted to the hospital because the area around her knee, which had previously been replaced, had swollen badly.)
"God was protecting me. I had angels protecting me because I was outside and I couldn't shield myself and bullets were just flying and nary a bullet hit me," Medley said. "If I had gotten into the car, I would have been dead because a bullet went right over the driver's seat."
Medley said Jefferson was sitting in the passenger seat when she was wounded.
Both women were taken to a hospital where they were treated and released about 1 a.m. on Wednesday, according to Medley.
Once home, Jefferson began complaining of pain in her head, Medley said.
"My wife told me that she was having these terrible headaches and she felt something moving in her head," Medley said. "She was experiencing short-term memory loss. She couldn't remember anything. She kept on repeating the same thing over and over."
Medley said that on Friday, she took Jefferson to Baptist Hospital, where doctors immediately X-rayed her head and found the bullet.
She said that while she is relieved Jefferson is expected to make a full recovery, she said both she and Jefferson are angry at the treatment her wife first received.
Medley said she and Jefferson are planning to contact a lawyer to take legal action against that hospital.
"They put the Band-Aid on her head, gave her antibiotics and just sent her home," Medley said. "We could have done that ourselves at home."