Selietha Parker and her daughter Alexis Goggins. (Family photo)
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Girl, 7, shot 6 times saving mom
Norman Sinclair, Santiago Esparza and Jennifer Mrozowski / The Detroit News
DETROIT — A 7-year-old-girl is being hailed as an “angel from heaven” and a hero for jumping in front of an enraged gunman, who pumped six bullets into the child as she used her body as a shield to save her mother’s life.
Alexis Goggins, a first-grader at Campbell Elementary School, is in stable condition at Children’s Hospital in Detroit recovering from gunshot wounds to the eye, left temple, chin, cheek, chest and right arm.
“She is an angel from heaven,” said Aisha Ford, a family friend for 15 years who also was caught up in the evening of terror.
The girl’s mother, Selietha Parker, 30, was shot in the left side of her head and her bicep by a former boyfriend, who police said was trying to kill Parker. The gunman was disarmed by police and arrested at the scene of the shooting, a Detroit gas station. Police identified him as Calvin Tillie, 29, a four-time convicted felon whom Parker had dated for six months.
Parker, who was treated and released at Detroit Receiving Hospital, is now at her daughter’s bedside. She declined to comment Tuesday.
The drama began to unfold just before midnight Saturday, when Parker called Ford and asked if she and Alexis could spend the night at Ford’s home.
“She said she had no heat and they were very cold, and I said , sure I’ll come and get you,” Ford said.
Ford said she drove her burgundy 1998 Ford Expedition to Parker’s home on Dwyer. She said as Parker and Alexis walked up to her vehicle she saw a man on the porch, who she assumed was a furnace repairman. She said Alexis, who walks with a limp, slipped momentarily on the icy sidewalk and as she helped the girl up, she saw the man and recognized him as Tillie. He was holding a gun.
Tillie ordered them into the vehicle, cursed at the women and angrily told Ford to drive him to Six Mile Road, she said.
“He looked like he was enraged and didn’t care what he did. I knew if we went to Six Mile, he would kill us,” Ford said. Instead, she told him she needed gas and drove to the Fast Stop Gas station in the 5000 block of East Seven Mile Road, a station that requires customers to pay the attendant inside.
“I figured if he got out to pump the gas, I was going to take off,” Ford said.
Instead, Tillie gave her $10 and told her put in $5 worth of gas.
Ford said she dialed 911 on her cell phone as she walked into the station.“The first operator clicked off and I dialed again and told that operator a guy with a gun was holding me hostage with a mother and baby and threatening to kill us. I told her the name of the gas station and then she said they didn’t have a unit to send.”Ford said she paid for $5 of gas and slowly returned to the vehicle, stalling for time as she handed Tillie the change. She said she kept stopping and starting the pump, hoping the police would show up.“I told him I needed more gas and took money out of my purse and went back into the station,” she said. The attendant, Mohammad Alghazali, 30, said he noticed Ford was crying and she told him what was happening. He called 911 as he heard shots coming from the vehicle.“It was very scary. She (Ford) was scared and screaming when the guy was shooting. I was scared, too. I was on the phone talking to the police when he started shooting,” he saidParker told police that Tillie said Ford was taking too longShe said she pleaded with him but he pointed the gun at her and shot her in the side of the head. She told police she was shot in the arm as she lunged at Tillie.Before Tillie could fire again, Alexis jumped over the seat between her mother and the gunman and begged him not to shoot her mother.The police report said Tillie “without hesitation” pumped six shots into the child.As police arrived, they saw Parker, covered in blood, running from the truck, screaming, “He just shot my baby.”The officers said Tillie came out to the vehicle holding a blue steel 9 mm semi automatic and dropped the weapon when ordered to do so. Officers said they found Alexis huddled on the floor under the steering wheel, covered in blood, surrounded by spent cartridge casings, a spent bullet on the floor and teeth on the seat. There were bullet holes in the windshield and blood inside.Alghazali said a police car on a street nearby arrived in less than a minute after his call.Marvin Bodley, a Detroit Public Schools attendance agent, spent two days at Alexis’ hospital bedside and said it’s miraculous that she’s alive.“What a courageous, courageous little girl,” he said. “You see more bandages than child,” he said. “It’s a horrific sight.”
Bodley said Alexis receives special education services at school, in part because of a weak left eye, which is the result of a massive stroke she suffered as an infant.
Ford said doctors at the time had predicted that when Alexis got older she would have trouble with tasks such as writing, but she is now able to write her name.
“She is a good little girl who is very protective of her mother,” said Tonya Colbert, Parker’s cousin.
Tillie is being held in the Wayne County Jail facing kidnapping, assault with intent to murder, child abuse, felony firearms and habitual criminal charges.
A preliminary examination is scheduled for Dec. 13.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Fund set up for 7-year-old ‘hero’
Community wants to help girl who suffered 6 gunshot wounds while protecting her mom.
Norman Sinclair / The Detroit News
DETROIT — The outpouring of offers of help and support from around the country for 7-year-old Alexis Goggins, who was shot six times protecting her mother, has overwhelmed the family, a relative said Wednesday.
“It is just amazing how the community has embraced us as a family and how much love they have shown for Alexis,” said a cousin, Tonya Tolbert. “We are just very thankful.”
On Wednesday, a benefit fund through Comerica Bank for Alexis and her family was set up by the child’s school, Campbell Elementary in Detroit.
“We have had calls offering help from as far away as Texas and Washington, D.C.,” said Marvin Bodley, a Detroit Public Schools’ attendance agent, who visited Alexis each day in the hospital. “We have had quite a few people who were themselves carjacked crying on the phone because they can relate to what they went through. We’ve had a couple of local businesses who called to help.”
Alexis, her mother Selietha Parker, 30, and family friend Aisha Ford, 29, were forced at gunpoint into Ford’s SUV around midnight on Saturday. Ford had driven to Parker’s home on Dwyer on the city east side to pick up her friend and daughter after the furnace in Parker’s house failed.
Police said Calvin Tillie, 29, Parker’s former boyfriend, then forced his way into the vehicle and ordered Ford to drive him to an address on Six Mile. Ford told him she did not have enough gas and drove to a gas station to try to get help. While pumping gas, she called 9-1-1. The attendant at the gas station on Seven Mile also called police as shots rang out in the vehicle parked at the gas pump.
Police said Tillie shot Parker twice and fired six shots into Alexis when she jumped from the back seat to shield her mother from Tillie.
Tillie was arrested by Detroit officers as he got out of the vehicle with a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol in his hand. He is in the Wayne County Jail facing numerous charges of kidnapping, assault with intent to murder, child abuse and habitual criminal penalties as a four-time felon. Tillie will have a preliminary examination in 36th District Court on Dec. 17.
Alexis remains in stable but critical condition at Children’s Hospital in Detroit with wounds to her eye, temple, chin, cheek, chest and right arm. Parker, who was shot in the head and arm, was treated and released.
“Alexis is responding to treatment and appears to be fighting well for her life,” Bodley said.
She is still slipping in and out of consciousness, he said.
While she was being bathed on Wednesday, Alexis pushed away the nurse’s hand, which onlookers considered to be a good sign, Bodley said.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “But we’re very hopeful she’s going to survive this incident.”
She faces surgery to her eye on Friday. Bodley said all indications are that Alexis will lose the eye.
Checks should be made out to the Alexis Goggins Hero Fund and sent to Campbell Elementary School in care of the Alexis Goggins Hero Fund, 2301 E Alexandrine St, Detroit, 48207. For information, call (313) 494-2052.
You can reach Jennifer Mrozowski at (313) 222-2269 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HERO GIRL EMERGES FROM SURGERY
Wednesday, 05 December 2007 7:04PM
|Southfield (WWJ) — 7 year old Alexis Goggins emerged from successful surgery on Friday. The first-grader at Campbell Elementary School in Detroit had surgeries on her right arm, eye and jaw. Doctors on Friday inserted pins in Alexis’ right arm, removed her right eye and wired her jaw shut. Police say Alexis Goggins was shot six times Sunday when she shielded her mother from an enraged ex-boyfriend. The ex-boyfriend is in police custody awaiting a preliminary exam next week.
A heroes fund has been set up for Alexis. Donations to the Alexis Goggins Hero Fund can be made to:Alexis Goggins Hero Fund
c/o Campbell Elementary School
2301 E. Alexandrine
Detroit MI 48207Her mother was shot twice. She was treated and released.
|© MMVII WWJ Radio, All Rights Reservedhttp://www.wwj.com/Hero-Girl-Emerges-From-Surgery/1290797|
Little Alexis is a heroine because she put her little body and life on the line.
Alexis Goggins deserves to be heralded and championed in the so-called “mainstream” news media. If the media can see fit to trip-stumble-and-fall all over itself with the dissecting of a madman killer’s hateful rampage, surely it can do the same for a little girl who truly is her “Sister’s” (and Mother’s) Keeper.
UPDATES ~ 2/27/2008:
Delores Flynn / The Detroit News
DETROIT — Nearly three months ago Alexis Goggins filled her days playing with dolls and having tea parties when she wasn’t in school. Now the 7-year-old is learning to cope with physical and occupational therapy sessions each week as she works to recover from multiple gunshot wounds after trying to defend her mother.
“Our life has been flipped upside down. But remarkably Alexis still has the same great spirit,” her mother Seliethia Parker, 32, said Wednesday. “She’s my angel.”
On Dec. 2, Parker was held at gunpoint by former boyfriend Calvin Tillie shortly after midnight at a gas station on Seven Mile. When Tillie began shooting, Alexis threw herself between the gunman and her mother. The first-grader, who was shot six times, lost her right eye and has undergone multiple surgeries, was hailed as a hero.
She was released from Michigan’s Children’s Hospital Feb. 6.
“I’m happy to be out of the hospital,” a soft-spoken Alexis told The Detroit News Wednesday. “I like getting to play with my cousins.”
When she’s not watching Disney shows like “That’s So Raven” or “Hannah Montana” with her cousins or eagerly helping around the house, Alexis has back-to-back doctor’s appointments, Parker said.
Alexis, who is learning disabled, is familiar with therapy. She has had epileptic seizures and a stroke but it’s nothing like her current schedule, her mother said.
The Campbell Elementary student has occupational therapy and physical therapy each twice a week and eye doctor’s appointments.
Doctors are helping Alexis, who walks with a limp, regain strength on the right side of her body, learn how to dress herself and develop better hand-eye coordination.
Alexis has been fitted for a prosthetic eye her mother hopes she’ll receive at the end of the month.
“The sessions are going really well. I’m so proud of her,” Parker said. “But I do worry about the future and hope she doesn’t have any complications.”
A trust fund has been set up to help with medical bills and continued care. The outpouring of support and prayers from the community has been tremendous, added a thankful Parker.
The family’s ordeal began when their furnace went out at their home on the city’s east side. Parker called her friend Aisha Ford to pick them up. As Parker and Alexis were getting into Ford’s SUV, Tillie appeared and forced them into the vehicle, police said.
Tillie, 29, ordered Ford to drive him to an address on Six Mile but she drove to a gas station on Seven Mile saying she needed to fill up. Ford called 911 while inside the station paying for gas.
Police said Tillie shot Parker twice. Alexis jumped from the back seat shielding her mother saying, “Don’t shoot my mommy” while Tillie fired six more rounds hitting the first-grader in the left temple, chin, cheek, right eye and right arm.
Seliethia says Alexis hasn’t talked about the shooting.
“She knows a little bit about what happened but she won’t talk about it right now. When I try to bring it up she starts to cry or will shut down and ask ‘Ma, can I watch TV?’ or ‘can I go to sleep?'” Parker said.
“It’s not something I want to push. I’m just happy to have my baby with me.”
As for Tillie, Parker said “I’ll be happy to see the day come when he is brought to justice.”
Tillie has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, three counts of taking a hostage, two counts with assault with intent to murder, child abuse first degree, possession of a firearm by a felon and felony firearm. He is set to undergo an examination for mental competency in 36th District Court on March 5, before a preliminary exam is set.