Nacogdoches woman shot and left for dead says children are 'miracles'

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The only thing Carmelia Abercrombie remembers is laying in the road behind Brookshire Brothers in Nacogdoches, covered in blood and screaming her head off.

"He actually shot me. Didn't—I had never seen a gun, we never argued, he just turned around and said he's going home and I said 'OK, I'm going back to my mom's house,' and he turned around [and] he pulled a gun. I had never actually saw the gun at that time and all I felt was like a burning sensation because I was shot in the stomach and I just fell down and I see him take off running," Abercrombie said.

At age 22, Carmelia says she was in an abusive relationship with her son's father, Alandis Russaw.

"It wasn't pretty at all—it was physically and verbally and mentally abusive and one day I got tired and I told my son's father, I was through. I was finished and I went and got a restraining order and moved in with my mom," Abercrombie said.

On Nov. 13, 1994, as Carmelia was returning home from the babysitter's house, she ran into her boyfriend outside the home.

"He came around the corner and my brother knew he wasn't supposed to be there and they were getting into it verbally and I just kind of told him, I'll take him and walk him down the street so y'all won't get into it," Abercrombie said.

That's when he shot her.

"I had a thought of I couldn't die. I just kept repeating my son's name because my son was going to turn two in two weeks and I kept saying, 'AJ, AJ, AJ,' and I put my hand on my stomach and just waited for the police to get there," Abercrombie said.

While screaming her head off for help, Carmelia says a newspaper boy passed by.

"He kind of stopped and kept going. I guess he didn't believe me or thought it was a joke or something and then I kept screaming and he backed up and came and called 911 for me," Abercrombie said.

She said paramedics told her she waited there for 2 hours and if it wasn't so cold outside, she would've never survived. She spent 60 days in the hospital with damage to her small and large intestine, and a puncture wound to the lungs.

She says she feels her boyfriend was trying to kill her.

"He went to work [the next day]. They got him off his job. He thought I was dead. I guess he didn't think that nobody would find out what happened. I honestly think he was trying to kill me," Abercrombie said.

Carmelia says the pain from the betrayal hurt worst than her injuries.

"I was hurt because just before that…a month before the shooting I just had a miscarriage by him and so it made me feel like I wasn't worth living, that I shouldn't be there," Abercrombie said.

Carmelia says she absolutely loves children, and while she was in the hospital, she was told she would never be able to have children again.

"I would always keep other folks kids. I've helped raise probably ten of my friend's kids from birth," Abercrombie said.

Then in 1999, Carmelia found out she was pregnant.

"I was like this can't be happening because all the other pregnancies before that would end by 10 weeks and so once I made it over the 10 weeks I was like 'oh yes,' and when she came oh my God. Everything was all about her," Abercrombie said.

Then, in 2010, Ca'Treajna was born.

"She was born at 25 weeks, she only weighed one pound, nine ounces, and she was only twelve inches long. I was told she wasn't going to make it. Three and a half months later, she came home and she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy," Abercrombie said. "She has a shunt in her head, hydrocephalus, hypertonic, which is high muscle tone. She can't walk and she can only say a few words," Abercrombie said.

But Carmelia says Ca'Treajna is her inspiration.

"At first, I didn't understand the situation and did not know how we were going to make it. But now she's why I get up every day. I just want everyone to know that through the struggle, she's the reason why I think God gave me another child ten months later," Abercrombie said.

Now, at 43, Carmelia has four kids ages 21, 14, 3, and 2 and she couldn't be happier. She says she looks at the situation differently today than she did was younger, but wants others to know that abuse is not OK.

"Don't stand there. He's not worth it. Your kids aren't worth it. If you can't even have kids, go adopt, go be a foster parent, be a volunteer. There are plenty of kids out there who need someone in their life," Abercrombie said.

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