Shot nine times: A true story of survival
Published: April 2, 2007 | 5907th good news item since 2003
A Medicine Hat woman who survived being shot nine times says it has given her strength and a more positive outlook on life.
”I’m not a miracle,” Kelly Winterburn, 52, told the Medicine Hat News on Wednesday. ”What happened to me is a miracle.”
Winterburn was repeatedly shot by her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, Matthew Gregor, 30, who later killed himself.
Incredibly, each of the nine bullets that entered her body missed – just barely – any major organs.
Winterburn was in the basement bedroom of her home playing on her Playstation 2 the night of Feb. 8 when the barrage of bullets crashed through her window from above.
Leaning back on her headboard, ”I heard the first crack,” she recalled.
At first she didn’t comprehend the situation, but Gregor continued to fire.
”I threw myself off the bed and started crawling on the floor,” explained Winterburn.
The hail of bullets left Winterburn with wounds in both arms, one splitting the humerus bone of her upper arm in half. Another bullet grazed a lung, causing it to collapse, and one struck her spleen, forcing doctors to remove it.
The only bullet removed from her body came to rest a hair from her spine.
She was also hit in her foot – an entry/exit wound in the heel that hit no bones.
Winterburn said she was lying on the floor when her husband, Louis Volk, came to her rescue.
”He saved my life. He put himself in danger to call 911.”
Volk crawled back and forth from the phone, which wouldn’t reach her location on the floor, to talk to emergency dispatch while trying to maintain pressure on her stomach wound.
Even though she hadn’t seen him, she told police when they arrived that Gregor shot her.
”I can’t tell you what was going on in Matt’s mind,” she said Wednesday. ”We have no idea what he was thinking.”
But her instincts told her Gregor, who was their daughter’s boyfriend more than a year ago, was the only one who had reason to want to hurt her, even though they had only met once.
The morning after the shooting, police pulled over Gregor’s rented car. Officers carrying riot shields approached with their guns drawn and smashed out a window.
But Gregor had already shot himself.
Winterburn was in intensive care when her husband broke the news of Gregor’s death.
She said she forgave him immediately.
”The first tears I cried over this whole incident were for Matt,” she said.
She is now relieved that her family is safe, but she has great compassion for the man who nearly claimed her life.
”I hope that he’s found a better place in the next world,” she said.
Winterburn spent 36 days in hospital. Despite her injuries, she never thought she was going to die.
”Just for the record there was no bright lights, there was no visions of people on the other side,” joked Winterburn.
”Death was not on my mind. Figuring out how I was going to stay alive was the only thing on my mind.
“God was very close to me. He was right there with me.”
She now spends her days at home, recovering with the help of her husband, daughters and the rest of her family. She enjoys every moment, especially the daily lunch she spends with her grandchildren, who attend a nearby school.
”Instead of thinking, ‘why me?’ I’m thinking, thank you, for this is a miracle.”