As the gunman was about to open fire, 7-year-old Alexis Goggins lunged from the back seat of the SUV and threw herself across her mom, crying...
DETROIT — As the gunman was about to open fire, 7-year-old Alexis Goggins lunged from the back seat of the SUV and threw herself across her mom, crying, “Don’t hurt my mother!”
Six bullets from the 9-mm handgun slammed into Alexis, one piercing her right eye. Two slugs hit her mother.
Alexis’ mother pulled through. But two weeks later, Alexis lies in critical condition, blind in one eye. And to her classmates and many people in this city so depressingly familiar with violence, the little girl is a hero.
“She was trying to save me,” her mother, Seliethia Parker, 30, said Monday. “I thought as the mother, I’d be saving my child. I never thought my daughter would be saving me.”
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Alexis has undergone three operations since the shooting. In addition to losing her right eye, Alexis was shot in the chin and jaw. Several days after the shooting, the little girl, her face swollen and wrapped in bandages, stirred and squeezed her mother’s hand.
As for the mother, she was seriously wounded, with one slug grazing her head and the other entering her chest and stopping just short of an artery. But she was released from the hospital just a few days later.
Parker’s former boyfriend, Calvin Tillie, a 29-year-old ex-convict on parole, was arrested in the shooting and charged with two counts of assault with intent to commit murder.
Alexis is learning-disabled and lags behind other youngsters her age. As a result, police say it may never be known whether Alexis meant to shield her mother from the bullets with her body. But Parker said that if her daughter hadn’t put herself in between, “I really don’t know. We might have been dead.”