Masked gunman remains at large |

Masked gunman remains at large

Christina Proctor

Police do not have a motive to explain the Friday night shooting of a 65-year-old South Lake Tahoe woman. The masked gunmen is still at large.

The woman’s left arm remains paralyzed and physicians told her it would be better to not remove the bullet.

The victim was walking home – a walk she’d been making five nights a week for more than a year and a half. She got off the bus alone the corner of Spruce Avenue and Heather Lake Road.

“It was really dark. I noticed it when I got off the bus, but I could see the stars. I was totally alone on the street that night,” she said.

“I was three-fourths of the way home when I suddenly heard running footsteps behind me. When I turned to see who was behind me he was right at my shoulder. He grabbed my arm and it happened almost simultaneously – the gun went off. I said, ‘You shot me, why did you shoot me.’ I fell to the ground. I don’t remember falling, but I guess I did because I remember getting up. The pain was excruciating. I started to scream and yell ‘Somebody help me. Somebody help me.’ No one came.”

The woman would have to walk 75 feet to the entrance of her subdivision and then to her home before she received assistance. The victim said she continued to call for help all the way to her home, but no one responded to her cries.

“It all happened so quickly,” the victim said of her assault. “He was there and then he was gone. It was just a few running footsteps and he was there. He turned and ran the same way he came up. I think he came out of the woods on that side of the street.”

Her assailant took no money or personal belongings making it hard for investigators to establish a motive for the crime.

“I can’t think of any reason why somebody would do this,” said South Lake Tahoe Police Detective Martin Hewlett.

She will carry a permanent reminder of her ordeal. Surgeons at Barton Memorial Hospital decided against removing the bullet saying it was a greater risk to remove it.

“The bullet entered near the top of my shoulder on the outside, went through the chest area and grazed the top of my left lung. It traveled over and lodged in the back of my sternum,” the victim said.

For now her left arm is paralyzed.

“The doctors said it’s going to be a long process,” she said. “I’ll have to go through physical therapy. They said to expect at least a year of recovery.

“I have no enemies,” she said. “I have no idea who this man is or why he did what he did.”

Police canvassed the neighborhoods near the crime scene Friday night, but reportedly found no witnesses.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 542-6100 or Secret Witness at 541-6800.

The victim’s name was withheld at her request.

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