JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two weeks after she was shot in the face, Lisa Rucker said it's a relief she is able to speak again. Her family said her being home so soon after she was shot is a miracle in itself.
"I'm really blessed," she said.
Though they call it a blessing, Lisa Rucker said the grief of losing her older sister, Ashlee Rucker, is a burden no one should have to bare.
"Coming home has been hard," she said. "Seeing a lot of my sister's things... It's been hard."
On Halloween night, Ashlee Rucker's boyfriend, 32-year-old Chad Absher, entered the home they shared on San Juan Avenue and shot both of the sisters, police said. Ashlee Rucker died at the scene just steps away from Lisa Rucker, who was rushed to the hospital with critical injuries.
"I thought I was going to die," Lisa Rucker said.
Lisa Rucker said she can't erase the horror of that night.
"I saw him with the gun," she said. "He shot me. Then I heard her scream. When I heard her screaming, everything was black. I saw light tht looked like it was blue and white out of the corner of my eye. It felt like I was falling and drowning at the same time. I couldn't catch my breath."
Lisa Rucker said her 4-year-old son and Ashlee Rucker's 9-year-old son witnessed the entire incident.
"The boys are running back and forth between her and I saying 'please don't die,'" she said.
Ashlee Rucker was just 30 years old when she died at their home.
Lisa Rucker said she remembers Absher and her sister arguing that night over keys, but it didn't take much for their relationship to turn violent. She said her sister would often come home battered and bruised throughout the three years she was dating Absher. She said the police were commonly called, too.
The family told First Coast News that they begged Ashlee Rucker to leave Absher, but said her love and fear for him were hard to overcome.
"He killed someone that loved him," Lisa Rucker said. "My sister really loved him. Because if she did it, she would've sent him to jail a long time ago."
Lisa Rucker didn't go to her sister's funeral, but watched it form her hospital bed.
When the bullet went through her face, it shattering her jaw bone. She undergone multiple surgeries where doctors repaired the fracture with a bone from her foot, she said. Today, Lisa Rucker presses her hand to a hole in her neck where she had a tracheotomy to speak.
Now, Lisa Rucker wants to speak out and help others in abusive relationships. She encourages them to seek help not only for themselves, but for their families as well.
She also continues to pray for strength, healing and justice in her sister's death.
"I hope he is in jail for the rest of his life," Lisa Rucker said. "I hope [he] gets hurt every day because we have to hurt every day that she's not here."
Absher is now behind bars and faces murder charges, attempted murder charges and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. His arraignment was waived until November 27.
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