KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A mother who survived being shot will never forget her first steps with her first prosthetic leg.
Cellphone video captured the moment Tiffani Majors placed one foot in front of the other. It was a moment of physical pain and emotional triumph.
Taking those steps was also one of many milestones Majors never thought she would reach. The man she was married to shot her with a rifle. He stood over her ready to fire again. Police shot him before he could.
Majors believes police officers and a team of EMT’s, nurses and doctors saved her life.
She has a message for them, “Thank you very much for saving me.”
She hopes sharing what happened to her might help someone else escape domestic violence.
For Majors, taking less painful and more sturdy steps is a blessing. It’s also a constant reminder that tasks she once thought were easy aren’t as simple anymore.
“I got a life sentence. I will never walk correctly,” Majors said. “I’m in pain every single day of my life.”
Life changed in 2015
In 2015 on a cold February morning around 4 a.m., her life changed. She says her husband at the time came home drunk and kicked open their front door.
“I told him it was over and he grabbed the rifle and said, ‘fine if you want it to be over I’ll end it now’ and he cocked the gun,” Majors said.
She says she ran from the house hoping to keep him far from their two young sleeping children. She had already called 911 for help.
“I heard several shots behind me,” Majors said. “I got over to my neighbor’s driveway where I felt a big sting in my leg and I dropped down.”
She was shot and unable to move.
“He said, ‘Come on, baby, get up, we can work this out,”’ Majors said. “Of course, I said, ‘What are we going to work out? You just shot me.’ That’s when he pointed the rifle at my head.”
The morning of the shooting KCTV5 News spoke to witnesses and neighbors.
“He heard us coming out of the doors here,” neighbor Lex Distefano said. “He pointed the gun at us.”
Majors’ neighbors tried to distract her attacker and called 911. It worked briefly, but she says he pointed the rifle at her head a second time.
“I really thought that it was going to be the end,” Majors said. “That I was never going to get to see my children again.”
As she was fearing for her life, police arrived.
“The officers informed him to put it down,” Kansas City Missouri Public Information Officer Darin Snapp said after the shooting. “He refused and actually held it up as if he was going to shoot and officers shot.”
A bystander was recording the moment police shot her attacker. The video captured him crying out in pain. He was treated at the hospital. Then arrested. Soon he was charged.
Long road to recovery
For two and a half years, Majors has fought to overcome her injuries. Recovery began with an external fixator which is a metal bar connected to the bone by thick pins.
She endured multiple surgeries, a skin graft and hyperbaric treatments.
“I was missing about six inches of bone in my leg right underneath my knee,” Majors said.
After consulting with doctors and specialists, she decided amputation was her best option.
Before that surgery, she wrote on her foot, “Goodbye. It’s been a good 37 years.”
Majors hopes with physical therapy, and her fourth and most comfortable prosthetic, she will continue to heal.
“I look forward to possibly being able to run with my children again,” Majors said.
This month her attacker was sentenced giving her the freedom to speak without fear of hindering his prosecution. She hopes she can help others who are scared to leave a violent relationship.
“They don’t think they have the option of leaving. They get threatened,” Majors said. “He threatened me a lot that if I left he would kill me.”
Majors hopes anyone who needs help will realize they are not alone.
“You kind of get stuck and you don’t know how to leave. What I would tell them is leave,” Majors said. “There is life after.”
Travis D. Potter pleaded guilty to first degree felony assault and armed criminal action for shooting Tiffani Majors. On Aug. 17, he received a 20-year sentence.
How to get help
Anyone needing help can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or click here for a list of resources.