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St. Louis mother paralyzed from the neck down by stray bullet after man ambushes officers: ‘I forgive’

ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — “I pray so many times. I talk to God,” said Tamara Collier.

Those two things are all Collier can do alone. The mother is now paralyzed from the neck down.

A bullet fired from a suspect during a police-involved shooting hit her. She talked about the shooting exclusively to News 4.

“When it first happened, I thought I was dreaming,” said Collier.

Though Collier struggles, she remembers September 1, 2017.

“I wasn’t scared. I was calm,” added Collier.

The 25-year-old mother of two was with her 1-year-old doing laundry inside a house on 9th Street near New Haven Court when she heard the shots being fired.

“When I heard the gunshots, I moved her quickly out of the way. There was another basket. When I reached for it. I got shot,” said Collier.

Collier didn’t know what was going on as she waited for help.

“I could not move. My body shut down just like that. The only thing that was moving was my head,” added Collier.

She’s now a patient at Kindred Hospital living with paralysis from the neck down.

“It’s not over,” said Collier.

Devonte Morgan is accused of putting Collier in this situation. Police said he ambushed officers and one of his shots went in the direction of Collier. The Circuit Attorney’s Office issued warrants for three counts of first-degree assault, three counts of armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm against 24-year-old Morgan.

“I forgive. I’m not mad at anybody. But somebody has to be held accountable because right now, this is my life,” Collier said.

Life for Collier, now, depends on family like her cousin Carla Austin.

“I can’t say I could even accept what happened to me if that happened to me. I probably could not say those words,” said Austin.

Words, mostly out of frustration, now tighten the bond between these cousins.

“It’s tough. It’s heartbreaking to see someone laying there and know they can’t move,” added Austin.

Paralysis means constant care. It requires love and strength.

“I am going to fight to get home to my kids. I am going to fight. I have to,” said Collier.

“We are going to have to hug her children for her. We are going to have to take her children places,” added Austin.

Collier’s days are mostly spent looking out her hospital window, looking at family pictures and talking to God.

“I am not sure what he is telling me. But, I know he is using me for something great,” added Collier.

Collier talked about paralysis being her life. A huge part of her life, before the shooting, was caring for others. She was a certified nursing assistant set to start a new job at a veteran’s home four days later.

As you can imagine, Collier’s bills will reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Click here if you want to help the help the Colliers financially.