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Jackie, a single mother of two, had a successful career and a love for photography, but an unexpected encounter with two violent teenagers would change her life forever.

In November 1995, while taking a nap at a friend's house, Jackie awoke to find then 16-year-old Craig Sussek and 15-year-old Josh Briggs in the garage trying to steal her car. The teens forced Jackie inside and told her to lie on the floor. Craig placed a pillow over Jackie's head and left her for dead after shooting her at point-blank range. The teens fled, and Jackie's friend discovered her minutes later.

Doctors told Jackie's family she had only a 2 percent chance of survival. After spending six weeks in a coma, Jackie awoke with severe brain injuries. For the next nine months, Jackie lived in a rehabilitation center, where she had to learn how to talk, eat, walk and even swallow again.

Jackie is now partially paralyzed on the right side of her body, which causes intense pain. "I liken it to a thousand needles on my right side. It is constant," she says. Her speech is impaired and she is legally blind. Everyday actions, like tying her shoes, are still a challenge for Jackie. "When I was shot, that changed everything. They took away everything," she says. "But I got it back."
FROM: Why I Forgave the Man Who Shot Me
Published on January 01, 2006


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