Zip Code:
Provider Type:

          "Confronting the Girl Who Shot Me in the Face"

          August 14, 2013

          In 1992, 17-year-old Shawna was working as a grocery store cashier when she found herself in the middle of a robbery. She says Jerrie, 14, held her at gunpoint and shot her in the face. For the first time since that day, Shawna confronts her attacker.

          One Terrible Night

          On a busy Friday night in January, 1992, 17-year-old Shawna was working part-time as a grocery store cashier alongside her high school sweetheart, Bob, when she found herself in the middle of a robbery. She says Jerrie, 14, came into the store with another girl and shouted, “Everyone on the ground. This is a robbery.” Shawna says Jerrie held her at point blank range with a sawed-off shotgun and demanded the money from her register. “The last thing I remember her saying was, ‘Bitch, I want it all.’”

          More than 16 million kids in the United States are at risk for hunger each day. Fortunately, you can help. Visit Feeding America to find your local food bank. And, help Dr. Phil raise enough money for 10 million meals. Donate today!

          “It just happened so fast,” Bob says.

          “The gun went off. Everything turned black,” Shawna explains. “I recall someone saying, ‘We’re losing her. We’re losing her.’” Doctors determined that the bullet entered Shawna’s lower jaw, and took off her chin, lower lip and bottom teeth. The force of the blast fractured her upper jaw. “The only way I could describe it was my face was melting,” she says. “I felt like my face was on the sun.”

          “There was blood everywhere; all over the floor, all over the cash register,” Bob says. “It’s a miracle that Shawna survived.”

          Three people were arrested for the events that day, including Mark Strickland, who was convicted of organizing the robbery. Jerrie Jones and her female accomplice were given six-year sentences in juvenile detention.

          Shawna says that because Jerrie was a minor, she was allowed to hide her face during the trial. “She would not make eye contact with me,” Shawna says. “Jerrie Jones could hide but I can’t hide. I couldn’t hide then, and I can’t hide now.”

          For the last 21 years, Shawna says she’s endured 100 painful surgeries, panic attacks and public ridicule. She says she’s been called a “monster” and a “Cabbage Patch doll,” and that children call her gross. “Every time I look in the mirror, I am reminded of what she did to me,” Shawna says. “This is a lifelong sentence. It’s not fair that her sentence was six years.”

          Shawna says she’s sometimes unable to leave the house for weeks at a time due to the depression. She says she still has nightmares as often as three times per week. “Twenty-one years later, and I still can’t forget it,” she says. “I didn’t get to live my dreams. My dream now is to get one good night of sleep.”

          Shawna agonizingly recalls the details of the shooting.

          Shawna shares the cruelest part of her wounds. “This is far worse than the physical pain.”

          The Shooter

          “When I was a teenager, I got mixed up in the wrong crowd,” Jerrie says. She says her friend introduced her to Mark Strickland, who told them that he had robbed Ken’s grocery store several times, and it was easy. Jerrie says Mark gave her a gun and told her it was empty. “My intentions were never to hurt her,” she says.

          Jerrie says that she was shocked when Shawna was shot. “The gun just went off,” she says. “I don’t remember pulling the trigger of the gun.”

          Jerrie was charged with felonious assault and robbery, and she says she turned her life around in jail.

          “In the back of my head, I don’t think about Shawna,” Jerrie confesses. “God has closed out that part of my life. I’ve been moving on and moving forward with my life. I paid my debt to society and to Shawna because I did my time in jail.

          “I don’t feel like it was my fault because I feel like I was used by an adult,” Shawna continues. “I’m a victim as well. I was a victim too.”

          Who is Jerrie all these years later? Dr. Phil is surprised by her series of statements.

          “Why do you have a chip on your shoulder? You shot her in the face!”


          Dr. Phil goes backstage and asks Shawna how she feels about meeting face to face with Jerrie. She says she is ready.

          “I recommend that you do it, and I’ll tell you why,” Dr. Phil tells her. “I think monsters live in the dark. I think that if there are things that scare us, we tend to build them up in our mind. I think you have fixated on her with a gun in her hand at 14, coming in, in a menacing and threatening way, and that person is gone. The person that you are left with is the person who is here. I think you can replace that image, which no longer exists, with the image, for better or worse, with what it is now.

          “I think she is being defensive because she knows her position is hard to defend,” Dr. Phil says. “Sometimes, people just can’t give you what they don’t have.”

          Dr. Phil tells Shawna not to be intimidated and to just tell her how she feels. “Should we go?” he asks.

          “I have to,” Shawna tells him.

          Face to Face

          For the first time since the shooting, Shawna and Jerrie come face to face on Dr. Phil’s stage.

          “I do forgive you,” Shawna tells Jerrie. “But it angers me that I have to live with it every day and you don’t. It angers me that no one has to know who you are. You can walk around and no one has to stare at you. That angers me.”

          “I just want you to know that I’m so sorry,” Jerrie tells her.

          “I just don’t want to be afraid of you anymore. I don’t want to see you in my nightmares anymore with that gun.”

          Moving On

          “I feel like a weight has been lifted,” Shawna tells Dr. Phil. “I didn’t expect that from her. But when she and I spoke, it was real; it felt real. I don’t think I will fear her anymore.”

          Dr. Phil asks Shawna if she gives herself credit for her remarkable strength.

          Dr. Phil offers Shawna help for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “This is treatable,” Dr. Phil tells her. “We work with the leading experts in PTSD in the world, and I would like to bring them to your doorstep.”

          “Are you glad you came here?” Dr. Phil asks Shawna.

          “I’m happy. I’m so happy,” she tells him, smiling. “I feel so much better.”

          “You gave her a real gift today,” Dr. Phil tells Jerrie.

          Phil in the Blanks – The Podcast

          Services Provided By

          Tell Us Your Story

          Be on the Show! Text “PHIL” to 88500

          Want to Be on the New Show “Face the Truth”?

          Want to be on “Face the Truth”, a new show by Stage 29 Productions (producer of “The Doctors”), hosted by Vivica A. Fox?

          Be Part of a New Project

          January Baby Shower for Mom in Detroit?

          Know someone planning a January baby shower in the Detroit area? Tell us! This is a project for Jay McGraw, not “Dr. Phil” (although it may be featured on the show), please note it is a commercial project.

          Be on the Show

          Explosive Family Drama?

          Does everyone in your family have strong personalities and refuse to back down?

          Be on the Show

          Need Dr. Phil’s Help?

          Share your story for a chance to be on the show!

          Be Part of a New Project

          Mom of Kid 2 or Younger In Detroit?

          Know a mom living in the Detroit area with a child wearing diapers? If so, tell us! This is a project for Jay McGraw, not “Dr. Phil” (although it may be featured on the show), please note it is a commercial project.

          Help & Resources

          Find Treatment Centers and Therapists!

          Check out the mental health treatment programs that have assisted Dr. Phil guests.

          Feeding America

          Learn how you can help feed a family struggling with hunger during the holidays.

          Be on the Show

          Have a Story Dr. Phil Won’t Believe?

          Want to appear on Dr. Phil? Text PHIL to 88500

          Simple Share Buttons
          Simple Share Buttons