Deborah Judd wants her second-grade students to know she’s OK.
Judd, 56, was shot and wounded in an attempted carjacking Wednesday afternoon at the start of a rampage that left two people dead and two others injured near the Lake City area of Seattle.
Judd said she was driving to her Snohomish home from her teaching job at Laurelhurst Elementary School when a man with a gun walked in front of her car.
“He walked straight in the middle of the road and just pointed the gun at me and just shot at me,” Judd said from her hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center on Thursday afternoon.
Judd said she asked to hold a news conference from her hospital bed because she wanted her second-grade students to know she was recovering from her wounds. She said she was hit in the arm and shoulder, and a bullet pierced her lung.
“When you’re 7 years old and you have to process your teacher getting shot, it’s not OK,” she said.
The man shot Judd three times while trying to steal her car before shooting at a King County Metro bus, stealing another car and crashing into a third.
As Judd was slumped over her car’s emergency brake and bleeding, she said, she felt alone. Then she spotted two men across the street whom she asked for help. A firefighter quickly showed up and put a tourniquet on her left arm as the commotion moved down the street.
Judd has no answers for why this happened to her or why she survived, but she says she is “blessed.”
“I don’t know why I’m the lucky one,” she said. “It’s kind of unreal. You just really don’t understand why you are just driving home from work and somebody walks out in the middle of the street and just shoots you.”
Judd said she is worried about her students and hopes some of them will be able to visit her soon.
“Kids are so traumatized by violence,” she said. “I want to make sure the kids know I’m OK.”
Judd, who began teaching in 1988, has taught in Texas, Mukilteo and Seattle, where she taught at Lowell Elementary before working at Laurelhurst.
“I don’t have any biological children, but I have hundreds and hundreds of school children after 30 years,” she said.
Despite her injuries, Judd plans on attending an Aerosmith concert in Las Vegas on April 8.
“I told them I have tickets to Vegas next Saturday and I plan on going. And I have tickets to go see Aerosmith on the 8th, and I plan on going,” she said. “God willing, I will be in Vegas next Saturday and I will get to see Aerosmith.”
Judd and the bus driver, Eric Stark, remained in satisfactory condition at Harborview on Thursday afternoon. Stark is being hailed as a hero for his quick actions to protect his passengers.
Tad-Michael Norman, 33, has been identified by police as the gunman. He has been booked on investigation of murder, assault and robbery, according to King County Jail records.
The gunshot wounds will heal, Judd said, but the psychological injuries might need more care.
“I think the physical injuries probably won’t be near as bad as —” she said, trailing off. “Although that is why I’m talking about it, too. I didn’t want to just be the woman who got shot. Because there’s a real person that got shot. There is a real family. And I don’t want it to be my identity for the rest of my life. But right now I want to own it so I can move on, and I want my kids to know I’m OK.”