Tammy Sexton, 47, remained hospitalized three days after being wounded by her husband, who killed himself after he shot his wife. A bullet struck her squarely in the forehead, passed through her skull and exited through the back of her head, authorities said. She is expected to fully recover.
"There's no way she should be alive other than a miracle from God," said Sheriff Mike Byrd of Jackson County, Miss.
Byrd said deputies were looking for Sexton's husband, Donald Ray Sexton, earlier in the week to give him a document ordering him to stay away from his wife. Court records show he was put on probation for six months on April 9 for domestic violence.
He showed up at their home in rural Jackson County in Southeast Mississippi about 12:10 a.m. Tuesday and confronted his wife as a relative ran next door to call police, the sheriff said.
"She was at her bed, and he shot her right in the head," Byrd said. "Then he went out on the back porch and shot himself."
A deputy was greeted by the woman when he arrived minutes after she was shot with the slug from a .380-caliber handgun.
"When the officer got there she said, `What's going on?' She was holding a rag on her head and talking. She was conscious, but she was confused about what had happened," he said. "She had made herself some tea and offered the officer something to drink."
Byrd said the bullet apparently passed through the lobes of the woman's brain without causing major damage. She was rushed to a Mobile hospital by a helicopter.
While such cases may be rare, a neurosurgeon who wasn't involved in Sexton's case said such an outcome is possible. Medical journals also confirm people have been shot in the head with little or no lasting injury.
"There is a space in the brain where a missile could pass without doing any major damage. Is it possible? Yes. It would be rare," said Dr. Patrick Pritchard, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
The sheriff called the case bizarre.
"You just don't hear of something like this. Somebody gets shot in the head and they're dead," Byrd said.
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