Victim of 2013 shooting: ‘I never feel safe’

Denise Martin speaks with 24 Hour News 8 on March 16, 2016.

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — In the summer of 2013, Denise Martin was shot in the face in her Wyoming home, the unintended target of gun violence. Three years later, she’s still dealing with the aftermath.

The shooting happened July 1, 2013. Witnesses told police two men got out of a vehicle, fired shots into a home on Longfellow Avenue and drove off.

“As I dozed off… I just hear shooting coming through my window. And I think they emptied two automatic weapons into the house, because the shooting seemed like it would never end,” Martin recalled when speaking to 24 Hour News 8 on Wednesday.

Martin was shot in the face.

“I’m asking God, ‘Is this all there is? Just like that it’s over?’ And he said, ‘Cut it out. You’re not dying,'” she said.

Her granddaughter, who was 7 at the time, was also in the house as the bullets flew, but was not hurt.

Three years after the shooting, the leads have run out and the case has turned cold. Save for some file footage and those fizzled-out leads, there’s not much left from the night that changed Martin’s life forever.

A week in the hospital, multiple surgeries and a new apartment later, her physical and emotional scars linger. She has trouble finding her balance while walking and struggles with panic attacks.

“Logically, I know that it will probably never happen again. But I never feel safe. When I lay down at night I’m afraid,” Martin said.

She receives housing assistance, food assistance and is on Medicaid. But she says she can’t work and has been denied twice when applying for various forms of disability. She is now awaiting a response to her appeal, which was filed in April 2015. She was told at the time that it could take up to 18 months to get a court hearing.

“You don’t know how your bills are going to get paid. You don’t know if you’re going to cut your lights off and your gas. I sat in here January for a week in the dark in the cold,” Martin said, a tear rolling down her cheek.

“This was not my choice. I did not do this to myself. And I feel like I’m being punished,” she continued.

Martin said her church, friends and family have helped pay for utilities and other necessities that assistance doesn’t fully cover, but she said she doesn’t like relying on them.

“I have friends. My church helps me a lot. But you get tired of begging,” Martin said.

Wyoming police say the investigation into the shooting is closed due to a lack of investigative leads, but they still welcome any tips that could help crack the case and will reopen the case if that happens.

Anyone with information can contact the Wyoming Police Department at 616.530.7300 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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