Keyana Jackson was shot in broad daylight at a Tallahassee apartment complex on Jan. 6, the day before the semester started.
Yet the FAMU student feels fortunate. Her friend, who was with her, was also shot — but he did not survive.
Jackson remembers being in the car with a friend at just past 3 p.m., minutes before heading to her home in Orlando. The two stopped in Graystone Place apartments to meet someone she did not know.
Upon their arrival her friend backed his car into a parking space while the suspect waited outside the vehicle.
The suspect shot Anthony Bell, 26, in his left temple. He died on the scene, according to the Tallahassee Police Department.
Darius Phillips, 26, has been charged in the murder of Bell, according to a probable cause document. An autopsy revealed that Bell had been shot with a revolver.
Jackson said when she heard the gunshot she turned around and the suspect shot her in the chest.
She remembers blacking out for about 10 seconds. When she woke up she saw the shooter fidgeting on the side of the door. She immediately hit the unlock button on the door, hopped out of the car and ran.
She ran across the street to people she saw standing in front of the store and screamed: “Help me, Help me, I’ve been shot.”
The people started to panic so Jackson ran into a store.
The employee locked the doors of the store. Jackson asked them to call the police and the ambulance. TPD came in 10 minutes and applied pressure on the bullet wound.
“Don’t let me die, I have a baby, I have a baby, please don’t let me die.” Jackson pleaded to TPD.
An ambulance arrived and put her on a stretcher. Jackson remembers not being able to talk. When she arrived to the hospital staff were ready for her.
The bullet shattered two of her ribs and collapsed one of her lungs. Her lung was open and blood was rushing into her lung.
Doctors cut her open from the side and put a tube into her to suck all of the fluid out of her lung.
Jackson relied on the tube for the next two days. It was taken out Tuesday, and Jackson left the hospital Tuesday night.
“The worst thing about it is the pain,” she said. It wasn’t even the bullet wound or getting shot. It was the pain of everything afterwards. Now it’s the pain that I’m dealing with now.”
Jackson, 22, is a construction engineer information technology major. She was back in the classroom on Monday, Jan. 14, despite having bullet fragments still inside her.
“I took a whole week out of school to get myself together,” Jackson said. “It’s a mind thing. I still cry, I still be depressed but every day I get better and every day I get stronger."
She was shot on the right side of her chest above her breast. She can’t lift her right arm up, it takes her longer to get dressed. She can barely do a lot of things that she was used to doing.
“It’s getting better and I tell everyone I’m a strong person. I have been through a lot of stuff,” Jackson said. “I came to FAMU to graduate.”
Her family wanted her to go back home, she said. They did not want her to stay in Tallahassee at all. TPD has the suspect in custody but her family wanted her to transfer to University of Central Florida.
Jackson responded, “I came to FAMU because I wanted to graduate from FAMU and I’m not going anywhere until I graduate. This is what I came here to do. God has spared my life because he wanted me to focus on what I came here to do. This semester, I’m trying to go harder than I ever went.”
Jackson, a single mother of 3-year-old Ashari McClinton is determined to earn a degree. Jackson had her daughter her freshman year of college.
When she started college in fall semester 2014 she was two months pregnant. Jackson gave birth to Ashari spring semester of 2015.
This semester she is taking right classes for 20 credit hours. Jackson is scheduled to graduate in December.
Ashari has lived with Jackson in Tallahassee prior to the incident. She is now temporarily living in Orlando with her godmother.
Jackson is originally from Mississippi and a lot of her family drove eight hours to Tallahassee after hearing about the shooting. All of her friends from Orlando drove four hours to check on her. Bell’s family came to visit her as well.
“Due to the major and classes that we have, we just became close friends and we blossomed into best friends. The simple fact that she’s a single mother I had a soft heart for that. I try to help her as a brother figure. Whenever she needs me there for anything, I try to help emotionally and physically,” Byran Stevens, a senior electrical engineering major at FAMU, said.
Stevens received a call around 6p.m. from Jackson’s sister explaining, Keyana was shot and that she was at TMH. He rushed out of work and went to go see her.
“Keyana was able to recall the incident in itself but it was hard and emotional for her to talk through. So, I was just there for support and waited for her family to come around. Later during that time frame we just stayed up there until she got into her own room and made sure everything was stable for her and that they sustained the blood and that it was no further damaging going on,” Stevens said.
Stevens spoke to Jackson two hours before she was shot on Jan. 6. She told him she was going out of town. The news that she had been shot was hearting breaking, he said.
“When you see her you see me on campus. With her being a single mother and not having as much help, and being up here on her own without her family, I feel entitled to help. I will always be there for her in regardless of whatever she need,” Stevens said.