INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - A mother and ex-wife shot multiple times outside her child's daycare four years ago has passed away.
Despite multiple surgeries, doctors had to leave several of the bullets inside her body. Shirley Justice suffered massive internal injuries to several major organs.
Shirley Justice talked exclusively with Andrea Morehead during her uphill battle to recover after being shot 14 times.
It would mean several surgeries and a lot of determination.
On February 18, 2014, Justice dropped off her daughter at Kinder Kare Daycare on West 38th Street in Eagle Creek. That's when her estranged husband Christopher Justice surprised her with a gun outside. Shirley was shot more than a dozen times and clung to life.
After the shooting, the estranged husband appeared before a judge in Kentucky, where he had fled and where lead homicide Detective Marcus Kennedy attended his hearing. During several years of rehab and multiple surgeries, Shirley and her family hoped that other women would use her tragic tale to escape domestic abuse. They shared that hope with Eyewitness News.
Her uncle sent us this statement saying, "I can only hope your story about my niece was able to get at least one person out of an abusive relationship."
Christopher Justice is serving a 24-year sentence for attempted murder after being convicted last year. His trial had several delays because Shirley needed more time to recover so she could testify about the shooting.
"She would sometimes call me and say another bullet fell out," said Det. Kennedy. "She was a super strong lady, it broke my heart, too, to hear she passed away."
Kennedy is one of IMPD's veteran homicide detectives assigned to the case. He had to write the final probable cause against Justice with help from Shirley about the gunfire. Kennedy eventually got to talk to her at her hospital bedside and during her years of rehab.
Eyewitness News has learned despite Shirley Justice not surviving the massive injuries, prosecutors have decided Indiana's jeopardy law doesn't allow them to upgrade his charges to murder.
Shirley Justice's mother Sheila Hart shared this statement with Eyewitness News:
"She succumbed to her fatal injuries from the February 18, 2014 shooting at the daycare from her ex-husband Christopher Justice. Despite everything that happened, Shirley was optimistic and hopeful that she was going to come through this. She tried with every fiber of her body to come back. She fought a good fight. This is the final chapter in my baby girl's story."
Shirley's family has set March 24, 2018 as the day they will celebrate her life and memory at her funeral services.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist Shirley's family with funeral plans.