Monday, December 17, 2007

The Littlest Hero

Many of you may have already heard this story, especially if you live in the Detroit area. I just found out about it today, and I felt I had to write about this little girl.
Her name is Alexis Goggins and she is seven years old. She suffered a stroke when she was only a year old, leaving her with epilepsy, vision problems, and a severe learning disability. But perhaps living with special needs made Alexis stronger and braver than most children her age.
Earlier this month, the furnace broke in the house where Alexis lives with her mother, Selietha Parker. Selietha called a friend, Aisha Ford, who came and picked the two up in her car. Selietha got in beside Aisha, and Alexis got into the back seat.
Little did they know, Selietha's ex-boyfriend, Calvin Tillie, had been lurking around outside the house, waiting for an opportunity like this. Selietha had dated Calvin for a while, but broke up with him after only three months. Apparently Calvin could not take no for an answer. He'd continued to call Selietha over and over again, and show up uninvited at the house at all hours. And now, he forced his way into Aisha's car, getting into the back seat beside Alexis. Calvin pointed his gun and told her to drive. Thinking fast, Aisha told the man that she was out of gas and needed to stop. She expected Calvin to get out and pump the gas himself, at which point Aisha planned to hit the gas and drive away. Calvin allowed her to pull over at a gas station, but then he gave her ten dollars and told her to get five dollars of gas and pump it herself.
What happened next is horrifying. Walking towards the inside of the gas station, Aisha says she dialed 9-1-1 and told the operator that she, a friend, and a small child were being held hostage in their car at gunpoint.
The operator told Aisha that he didn't have any police units to send at that time.
Desperately, Aisha tried to stall for time, hoping the police would show up. She fiddled with the gas pump, pumping as slowly as possible, and then she told Calvin she thought she needed to go back and buy another five dollars worth of gas. When she went into the gas station the second time, she told the attendant what was going on, and he, too, dialed 911. But it was too late... they both heard the sound of gunshots coming from the car.

Back in the car, Calvin grew tired of waiting. He shot Selietha in the head. Seeing this, Alexis threw herself over the back of the front seat and got in front of her mother, begging, "Please don't shoot my mom!"
Instead, Calvin shot the little girl... six times.
Finally, the police arrived, and found Selietha screaming that her child had been shot. They found little Alexis unconscious and bloody in the front seat of the car, surrounded by bullet casings.
Now Calvin is in jail where he belongs... but Alexis is not back in school where she belongs. She lies in critical condition in a Detroit children's hospital. She's been through three surgeries already, and doctors expect her to survive, but they are not sure what her quality of life will be. Her mother, other family members, and teachers and friends believe Alexis is strong enough to survive anything.
In fact, to give Alexis every chance possible, her school has set up a fund for her. Donations can be sent to Alexis Goggins Hero Fund, Campbell Elementary School in care of the Alexis Goggins Hero Fund, 2301 E Alexandrine St, Detroit, MI 48207.
I'll continue to follow Alexis's story, and hope this little girl gets all the miracles she deserves.

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