TACOMA, Wash. — A woman is recovering after she was shot four times by a stranger during a drive by shooting in Tacoma.
Lily Valdez is in a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally.
She’s haunted by that night and still coming to grips with how someone she didn’t know could target her so violently.
“I do remember seeing his face looking at me. And then all of a sudden he just starts shooting,” Valdez said.
Valdez spoke to KIRO 7 from her hospital bed.
As a single mother of two, she is often called on to be strong. But what she’s dealing with now is almost too much to bear.
“It’s more fear than like pain. Yeah, the pain is there but pain is easier to get rid of than the fear,” Valdez explained.
Valdez works private security for Tacoma Public Utilities. That night, when she was off duty, she’d left her car parked at work while she and her boyfriend went to a show. They returned for it around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5. As she left the parking lot, she remembers a car pulling up right next to her, but didn’t think much of it at the time. Then, out of nowhere, the driver starting shooting her.
“I felt it on my thigh first,” she recounted.
She was stunned and unsure exactly what happened.
“Then he did it again right away. And that’s when he hit my rib. That one, that was when I was panicking,” she said.
She told her boyfriend to call 911.
“As soon as he gets out of the car, I feel another shot. Right on my neck. That one was the most traumatizing one I think because I can literally still feel the warmth, the warmth of the shot,” she said.
Valdez, somehow, managed to drive her car back to her work. She ran to the guard shack and called for help.
“The reality of like just no one, no one in my life wanted to kill me, for what?” she said. “And having to find help. Thank goodness I was by my job.”
She’s so grateful for her coworkers who helped her that night and considers them her heroes.
The suspect, Jeffrey Poland, pleaded not guilty last week. After he allegedly shot Valdez, police say he drove a mile south, hit a parked car and pinned a man between two cars, partially severing both of that man’s legs. Court documents say Poland was “obviously intoxicated.”
A judge set Poland’s bail at $2 million because of the severity of the charges.
His lawyer urged not to rush to judgement.
“It’s still really early. A lot of details and facts need to come to light,” said lawyer Woori Cheh.
“It just makes me so angry,” Valdez said.
Valdez can’t fathom why a stranger would target her.
“That’s the face I see every single time” Valdez said. “There’s that dead stare I can’t get out of my mind.”
It’s only when her sister holds her hand, can Lily quiet her mind and finally get some sleep. But every little sound - brings her back to that night.
While she’s got a long road ahead of her, she’s comforted to know people are pulling for her through a GoFundMe page.
“Knowing that there are so many people that do care about me, it’s overwhelming. I’m so thankful for it,” Valdez said.
Valdez hasn’t seen her kids since she’s been in the hospital. She doesn’t know when she’ll be able to go home.
If you want to help >> Fundraiser by Sylvia Olsby : Help Lily pay Living Expenses (gofundme.com)
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