The Bullet Miracle
By: Ron Scott
The shooting happened at the house where my buddy John and I were living. John's three-year-old boy, Timothy, lived with him. A friend of John's, Debbie, came over a lot and babysat Timmy while John was at work. John was going to marry Debbie.
On Tuesday, January 6, 1980, I had the day off work. All I wanted to do was relax and go to bed. I went home, turned the TV on low, and began watching it. Debbie was sleeping already, which she never did. (I found out later from John that she had been sick earlier that day. She must have been in bed by 8:30 that evening, along with Timmy.)
I went in my room, got undressed, and started watching the basketball game. I remember the Atlanta Hawks were playing. About 15 minutes later I got a phone call from one of the guys from the city football team. We were going to go up north for one of the league meetings the following Saturday. We talked about 10 minutes and then I hung up the phone and got back into bed.
Another 10 or 15 minutes later I heard a knock at the door. (What I normally had done as common practice when someone came to the door was pick up my .38 caliber pistol and load it before I opened the door. I never kept it loaded otherwise. I kept the bullets in one spot and the pistol in another so Timmy would never get at it.) So, I went to the door, and like always, had the pistol hid behind my back. If it were someone who had to come in I would just say, "excuse the gun." The reason why I did it was because there had been a ring of guys in the neighborhood who were raping girls.
So here this guy was at the door, asking about some pictures John was going to develop for him where John worked. He asked me if I was John's brother. I said, "No, we're just good buddies." We talked a couple of minutes and then he wanted to know where he could get a hold of him. I said he'd be back the next day. Then the guy left.
I took the bullets out of the gun and put them back. Then I slipped back into bed. That was close to 10 p.m. I was lying there when suddenly a few minutes later the phone rang. I heard Debbie wake up and answer it. I couldn't hear what she was saying. All I could hear was her voice. Shortly thereafter she hung up, and I tried to go back to sleep again.
Then all of a sudden, KNOCK - KNOCK again on the back door. Now by this time I was frustrated! I'd been trying to get to sleep since 9 p.m. So instead of getting up and getting my pistol and loading it, I got up and went stomping all the way to the back door, mumbling to myself about WHO it could be this time!
I opened the door, and here's some guy dressed in a long, full-length leather coat, and he has another guy with him. He asked me, "Is John here?"
"No," I said.
"Is Debbie here?" he asked
"Yes," I said, "So ... what's the deal?"
"Well," he said, "John bought a camera from me, and he wanted me to get him another lens, and I couldn't get the lens, so he was going to give me $35.00 more, but I'm just going to give him the camera because I can't find the lens. I can't get a lens for him."
Now, because John and I had been taking some amateur pictures together at that time, this all sounded legitimate to me. I didn't question that the guy had a valid reason for coming. This sounds alright to me, I'm thinking to myself. The guy looked sort of familiar anyway, although I didn't know him; neither one of them. I thought a moment -- it seemed okay -- it was cold out there, so I said, "Come on in." I was being polite.
I walked back into the other room and asked Debbie about the camera. She mumbled from broken sleep, "I don't know nothing about any camera." So I thought to myself; wow, this doesn't sound right.
I had the camera in my hand, and I walked into the other room. He followed after me. I then turned around and came back into the kitchen. He did likewise. By that time I was looking closer at the camera and I noticed. It was too late then. The lens was a fixed lens. It couldn't come off anyway! There was no exchanging of lens possible.
Two seconds later he pulled out a gun and shoved it right up to my left temple. He was on my left side, and he told me: "Go in the other room."
We went back into the room where Debbie was and he sat down perpendicular to Debbie at the foot of the bed. Then he pointed the gun at my forehead; touching it, right in the center, and started asking me about some collectors' guns. He said, "I want the rifle with the scope on it. Where is it?!"
I said, "Hey, they aren't here." My buddy had a .41 magnum pistol, and had taken it to Riley's Hardware (Grand Rapids, MI) for a reblueing job so it was being worked on at that time. The other one, the .357 magnum, was there, and I had my .38 pistol there also. When he put the pistol up to me, the other guy went searching through the house. He had no intentions of hurting anybody. He just went looking for whatever they had come there for. He found my gun, brought it back and gave it to the guy alongside me. The guy was still holding the .25 caliber pistol on my head, yelling out questions. "Where's the .41 magnum?! Where's the other guns?! You know what I'm talking about!" He was really getting vicious then.
I said, "Hey, man, I don't know what you're talking about. They're not here. One is in the shop, and the other one's over at a friend's house."
Next, he started threatening Debbie and he also threatened to kill the baby. He said, "I'll shoot this baby if you don't tell me where those guns are!"
Debbie said, "I don't know where they are at!"
Now when she said that, I knew she didn't know, because she didn't give a darn about those guns. Her attitude prior to that was that you could take those guns and throw them as far as you could. If she had known where any of those guns were, she would have told him.
Shortly thereafter the guy with gun stepped away from me and yelled, "Don't you move!"
I was still sitting on the edge of the bed. Now I'm thinking as I'm sitting there: Oh man, we're getting robbed. It's this type of thing where there's no violence, okay? I'm not going to do anything to cause him to do anything to shoot or hurt anybody. So I'll just stay calm.
He backed up and turned the light on. All the time though he still kept his gun on me. Then he said, "Give me your watch! Give me your jewelry! Debbie's stuff!" Whatever she had. He demanded money. I had $20 in my wallet in the other room. I told him to go get it. He asked Debbie for some money. She said she had $40. He found it and took it.
After that he turned the light on again - looked around, asking about the guns again. He started getting bummed out about the guns. Then he said, "You'd better tell John he'd better give me a cut of that money he's going to get from those pictures he took of that girl!" (It came out later that he was assuming they were some pornographic pictures, which was a false assumption). Anyway, at this point I'm thinking: Wow, he's not going to shoot. Not if he's wanting me to go tell someone about it.
Then he started threatening Debbie again. He was standing away from me, and then he came back up to me and put the gun right up on my forehead. From out of nowhere . . . without any reason whatsoever . . . POW! He pulled the trigger.
The first thing I thought was, "This (blankity-blank) done shot me." I mean, this is what was going through my mind. "This (blankity-blank) done shot TTT MEEEEEEEE! I'm waiting for the lights to go out. I'm falling back ...
I was sitting up, okay -- on the edge of the bed. I get shot, and I'm falling back. Suddenly something came to me and said, "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT. EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE ALRIGHT." It was either God Himself or an angel. A voice just came to me while I was falling backwards and said, "DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, EVERYTHING'S GOING TO BE ALRIGHT."
I'm still falling back now ... and then just SPLATTT. Just nothing. Like everything's gone, And I kept thinking, Man, the lights aren't going out. I've got to play dead. And bang, I hit the bed just like nothing. I just laid there. I could feel this bubbling -- gushing -- churning; this blood, coming out or something. I could feel it all inside my head, and from that point on my body went numb.
Now, I'm lying there on the bed faking dead. (I don't think it was too hard. Even though I did perform in a few plays when I was younger I never performed playing dead.) The next thing I remember was that he started threatening Debbie again about killing the baby, and I also heard him ask her where my car keys were so he could look for my rifle. Then he said, "Hey, you come and go with me!"
She said, "I'm not going anywhere with you. I'm not leaving this baby! You're just going to have to shoot me!"
It sounded like only subdued talk to me, but it must have been a violent situation because she ended up scratching him, and pulling some buttons off his coat. Shortly thereafter, I heard this distant KAPLOOEEEE, and I thought, Oh no, he must have shot Debbie.
After that I didn't hear anything. There was nothing. The reason I say it had to be a loud situation earlier from struggling with Debbie was because when it did quiet down, I don't remember anything ... any kind of noise or sound.
My buddy and I had reloaded our own shells for the pistols. Our intruder found a box of them to fit my gun, and he poured them on my stomach. Now I was just lying there, staying as still as I could. A short time passed, and then he came back. I didn't hear voices; I heard something, but I don't remember what it was. He grabbed me and pulled me off the bed and threw me on the floor. He was looking for the cartridges that came from the .25 caliber pistol and the buttons that came off his coat.
What happened to me -- when I hit the floor, my arm got cocked behind me in such a way that I was about ready to scream from the pain. I mean, it was either that, or get up and fight! I quickly looked to see where he was: see what he was doing. He was facing away from me. This was the first time I had opened my eyes since being shot, remember, and I looked up at him out of my right eye. I saw that his back was to me so I got my arm straight and maintained a rolling motion at the same time and hit the ground. Then I passed out. The pain had been so intense from my arm being cocked that when I was relieved of it, POW ... I passed out.
I didn't stay unconscious very long, and when I came back to, I began to listen. I listened and listened, and couldn't hear anything. Finally, I opened my eyes and saw Timmy sitting on the edge of the bed. He was just sitting there ... no problem. I got up a little bit and saw Debbie's feet out in a little hallway. Then I thought to myself, I'd better go close the back door, because it was in the dead of winter.
I got up and walked over by Debbie. There she was, lying on the floor face down with a hole in her back about an inch and a half in diameter and a butcher knife sticking right through it. All I could see was the handle of the butcher knife. (I didn't check this out at the time, but apparently he had shot her first and then put the butcher knife in later. I also found out later that he had scraped her fingernails off -- he started to cut her fingers because she had scratched him. He didn't want any evidence of that. Her started to cut her fingers but he ended up scraping her fingernails instead.)
At this point I walked on past her. I said, "There's nothing I can do; there's nothing ... I know beyond a shadow of a doubt she's shot square behind the heart -- right between the blades."
I walked on past and shut the back door. At that point I walked right past the telephone. I was in no mood to stop at the telephone and make a phone call at that moment. I came back and sat exactly where I was when I had been pushed off the bed. Then I started talking to Timmy, and asked him to hand me the phone. He crawled over the bed, got the phone, and handed it to me. I sat there a minute, thought; trying to regroup. I'm talking to myself, trying to keep myself calm, because I was in shock. I could only see out of one eye. Everything was just slow, and I had to keep it that way. I didn't want to exert myself because my main concern was the safety of Timmy. Whether I died or not, I didn't care. My number one concern was Timmy. I wanted to get hold of his father. I wanted to be the first to break the bad news to him. I didn't want the police to call him and say, "Hey, your girlfriend's dead, and your buddy's shot in the head." I wouldn't want that to happen to me.
I called John. Once I got hold of him I explained a little bit about what had happened. "A guy came in, wanted these guns; shot me and Debbie: get home right away!" I wanted to get off the phone so he could get there.
After I hung up I remember thinking -- John's on his way now. Let him take care of everything else. So then I said, "C'mon Timmy."
We left the bedroom and walked into the livingroom. I layed down in front of the fireplace, an arms' length away from John's .357 pistol. I didn't get it out, but I knew where it was if I had to use it. I rested there until John came.
When John arrived, well ... what do you expect. He was shaken up bad, but he pulled himself together -- enough to call the police, and the ambulance was on the way.
A police officer arrived first. When he walked in, he saw John with the .357 pistol in his hand, and thought, "Oh nooo ..." He didn't know what to think; what he had walked into. He thought maybe John had done all of this, and John said, "Hey man, just come on in ... this in my gun ... ain't no problem," trying to assure him everything was okay.
The policeman said, "Uhhh, put the gun down. Put the gun down over there," which, you can understand his point. He didn't know what was coming off.
Up until this time the pain had never really set in. Once the ambulance people came, I finally relaxed. When I relaxed, it was like a freight train hit me. The pain just throbbed in my head. At that moment the police officers began questioning me for facts. "Who did it?! Who did this?!"
After a short while, my brain began to speed up, and facts and details came back. Suddenly out of nowhere I blared out the name of a man. (Later it proved to be the name of the man who had committed the murder.)
Finally they put me in the ambulance and took me to the hospital. In the hospital they lifted the stretcher up to a table and the two guys carrying the stretcher looked up at each other, as if to say, "Hey, we've got to pick this heavy dude up again." I was weighing about 215 pounds then, and these guys weren't very big so it was a little strain on them. Ha - I said the heck with this and raised up off the stretcher and got on the table myself. They gasped -- they liked to choke! They just couldn't believe it.
The police started asking questions again. "Hey man, my head hurts, ya know?!" I'm yelling at them. "C'mon now, somebody do something for my head. Put me to sleep. I came down here to get out of this pain." My head was just throbbing, and banging and banging. Finally I told them, "Leave me alone! I'll talk with you guys tomorrow. I'm not going ANYWHERE!" God had already told me that everything was going to be alright. I knew I would be around to answer questions.
Bless their hearts though, they didn't believe me. After that, they pulled a fast one on me. It's called getting themselves SLICK. They slipped the doctor in on me and kept asking him to ask me questions. Finally I said to the doctor, "Hey look -- if you don't get out of my face ..." I raised up out of the bed and balled my fist up and pointed it right at him and said, "If you don't get out of my face I'm gonna bust you right in the nose!"
He stepped back and looked at me and said, "Brother, it'll hurt you more than it will me. "And I said, "THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK!" Ha - intravenous apparatus and all, I was going to bust him. As far as I was concerned I had told them as much as they needed to know to convict anybody.
From that point on I was out of it. They left me alone. When I woke up the next morning, it seemed like I had been there for hours, like I had been moaning and groaning forever. As time passed, I was never told right away what my chances of completely recovering were. It kind of irritated me too. They sort of treated me like a kid. Finally I had to say, "Tell ME what's going on. I wanna know." They told me I was in serious, serious condition. And the first few days they kept me on I-V's. I couldn't eat anything. Food was the last thing I wanted. They took x-rays of all kinds of my head.
Three days after I had been in the hospital I was told that a man had shot two police officers down at the Hall of Justice in Grand Rapids, MI, and he was apprehended. They found him with my .38 pistol, the one he had taken from me, along with a shoulder holster of mine. That automatically linked him with the shooting of Debbie and myself. (Incidentally, it was the same name of the guy I had given the police the night I was shot.)
Six days after the shooting they operated on me. Just prior to the operation I was able to get up out of bed; sit down -- stand up. I couldn't walk around very well but I could walk if I had to.
The operation lasted 6 hours. What they did, they shaved all my hair off. They started right behind a section of my ear and cut all the way across the top of my head, just behind the hair line, over to my other ear. Then they peeled all the skin off my forehead and peeled it down to my nose. They drilled about 8 holes in my forehead and then sawed a rectangular piece out of my skull and took it out. The bullet had gone in at a trajectory. It went through the front part of my brain and ricocheted off some bone in my nose and traveled back into my center sinus cavity. It stopped 1/16 of an inch from the rear cranial cavity and lodged in a bone area right there.
I woke up in the intensive care unit. Shortly after I woke up, a funny thing happened. My Uncle Bob and my Uncle James were there visiting me. They came for ten - fifteen minutes to visit. Then my Uncle James' son came in, Tracy. We talked briefly. I asked him, "Hey, howls basketball? You still on the basketball team?"
"Yeah, I haven't got cut yet."
"How many classes are you taking?" I asked.
"Three? Yeah, you'll probably cut out on one before long." Just casual talk of the sort.
Then all of a sudden . . . EEEEEEYOWWWW . . . he fell out on the floor. He hyperventilated! He had locked his knees and fell out on the floor! I knew his head had to be bashed.
So I'm lying there, barely able to talk, yelling, "Nurse! Nurrrrrse!" I'm waving my hands and everything, and just when help comes, he wakes up.
"Oh no!" he says, "what am I doing down here?"
Naturally he was embarrassed, but we both started to laugh.
I was in bad shape for three days after the operation. They kept me still as a board. It had taken everything out of me. My head was so sore. Prior to the surgery I had asked the doctors what my chances were of playing football? The doctor said laughingly, "Well, I guess I wouldn't try it for a year or so, you know." Naturally he was joking. They had written me off as a goner. At that time my eye was swollen up like a golf ball.
They told me I wouldn't be able to see out of my left eye ever again. There would be total blindness in it. They also told me I would never be able to smell again. Because I wouldn't be able to smell, I wouldn't be able to taste. Prior to the accident I had 20/15 vision in my left eye. After the accident and surgery, as best as they could gauge it, I had 20/100 vision in that eye. Almost total blindness. It was virtually worthless.
Within a three-week period it progressed to a 20/50 vision. I could see figures with that eye. I couldn't see clearly, but I could see figures. Within three months time I had progressed to 20/25 vision. I have about 60% of my smell at the present time. I have all my taste. Keep in mind, after the surgery the doctors said I would probably not be able to play football ever again.
To show you how quickly God began to restore my health, four days after my operation I was up walking around. My athletic sense took over and in order to be excellent, you have to get in shape. You have to practice three hours to play a one-hour game. You have to practice five days a week, three hours a day to play one game for one hour. I said to myself, "You have to get up and you've got to work yourself back into shape like you were before this all happened."
So man, I got up out of the bed and started doing everything I could to get back in shape. I started eating again. I had lost 35 pounds in just a few weeks.
Three weeks after the operation they released me. I stayed with my Uncle Bob. I went home Wednesday, January 28, 1981.By the end of February, I was driving a car. I started going to football meetings again. From that time on I knew God had saved me for a reason. If it was only to tell people about what had happened to me and that I was saved and spared from death by His hand. What can I say? I didn't know exactly what God wanted, but I said to myself, "I'm going to find out exactly what He wants me to do."
May of 1981 came along and I was practicing real hard. The guys on the football team (Grand Rapids Eagles) kept saying to me, "Hey man, you really don't have it; you've lost a step or two." When they told me that, I was determined to work three times as hard. And I went out and worked and worked and worked. However, during that period of time I was contemplating on whether I really should play football again or not, because at one time the doctors said they thought they were going to have to operate on me again. They had taken a lot of x-rays, and found the bullet was moving. (I forgot to mention earlier that the doctors decided to leave the bullet in my head, because they thought it was safer leaving it there than risking the danger of trying to take it out.)
In the third week of May, 1981 - four months after leaving the hospital - we had already started hitting each other in practice. When I first started dressing down and participating, nobody wanted to be the first to hit me and have me go down, and cause "THE BULLET" to fall. They nicknamed me "THE BULLET" because I was playing with a bullet still in my head.
So I would tell them, "Well, the Lord didn't save me to come out here on the football field to die. He saved me for some other purpose."
And glory be to God, I ended up starting the first game. I started most all of that season. Several years has gone by now since that accident occurred. Everything HAS been alright . . . just as I was told it would be when God or that angel spoke to me, and all I can do is give my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the glory for it all.
Debbie's parents . . . yes, I grieved with them. The man, who shot me . . . yes, I pray constantly for his salvation. I have no feelings of anger or bitterness toward him. I never did. Like all of us, he too must answer to God for his behavior here on earth. I know Jesus Christ will forgive him if he only asks for it.
As I bring this story to a close, perhaps an additional way to give Him that glory that He so much deserves would be for me to recite a poem the Lord game me. It's very special to me. God got me up out of bed in the middle of the night -- two o'clock in the morning, and wouldn't let me sleep. That was in August 1974. I remember sticking my head out the window and gazing up into the heavens. These words just came to me:
As I stare into the sky this night, seeing many, many stars burning bright; I have no way of knowing how, when that day comes, unto Jesus I will bow.
The world around me be so still, but I shall always do God's will; In that so you do not know, if it's heaven bound you'll go; If this world has got you down, let Jesus help you come around.
What is it that makes you do what you do? I know ... it's Satan, putting his hand on you; The Lord asks you to trust in Him, and no more Satan will come in.
From here to there ... the way is paved, But ONLY . . . if you are saved.
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