The Shots No One Heard

Terrance Jackson's wife put three bullets in him. He almost died. She got 30 days in the workhouse.

           Terrance Jackson remembers standing in the middle of his living room as two Minneapolis patrol cops passed him on their way out the door. Nothing they could do, they said. Which left him alone with Stacy again. The police knew that his wife had just tried to stab him with a kitchen knife; she said so to the 911 operator. And they knew there was a gun in the house.

           Stacy started right back in the minute they left. "One of those cops asked me out," she teased.

           "So what?" Jackson said. "I'm going to get somebody else too."

           He turned and began a familiar trek up the stairs to pack a few things and leave, as he'd done more than a dozen times before.

           This time he was stopped in his tracks by the metallic sound of a bullet being drawn into a pistol chamber. He spun around to see her standing at the bottom of the stairs with his .25-caliber handgun pointed at him. She had a familiar look on her face, he remembers thinking, the one she got when the lid was about to come off. Jackson ran the rest of the way up the stairs and locked himself behind the bathroom door.

           "She banged on it and banged on it and banged on it," he says. "And she was cussing me out. She said, I'm going to shoot you in one head and then shoot you in the other head."

           He pauses. "It was pretty poetic, you know what I mean. Then she was doing a crusade for all my ex-girlfriends, saying in the name of Kim and the name of Elanya and doing that whole kick. When she gets angry, she doesn't peak. She just keeps going on and on and on."

           The commotion finally stirred the couple's infant son, TJ, who had been asleep downstairs. He began to cry. "I said, 'Put the gun down, you're going to be really sorry if something dumb happens. TJ is crying. Put the gun down.' I'm thinking should I jump out the window? It was on the second floor. I'm like, shit, she ain't going to do it."

           Just then, Stacy managed to kick out the bottom plank of the bathroom door. "She stuck her head and the gun through. I was picking up hairspray and stuff and throwing it at her," he says. "She retracted on that whole thing. And she continued to bang on the door.

           "I would say about a half-hour, 45 minutes later a hinge popped out, then another hinge. If I leaned against the door, she could shoot through the door, so I didn't know what to do. The door eventually came down. And I stepped into the doorway and she started firing. With each step I got shot.

           "First step was here," he says, pointing to his left shoulder.

           "Second step I took, I was shot here." He points lower, almost at his heart.

           "By the time I took my third step, I was right next to her. That was when she shot me in my leg. And she was still going to pull the trigger but I grabbed her and the gun shot her in the leg."

           They struggled until he got the gun out of her hand and threw it out a window. And then Terrance Jackson kissed his wife on the back of the head and told her he loved her. Asked her to call 911. He walked out into the street for help, trailing blood all the way. "It was a beautiful sunny day, winter time," he says. "It was Sunday afternoon and I remember there was a little white kid standing in front of his house and I tried to say 'call for help,' but the words didn't come out. I could see myself riding on my little trike. My life was passing before me."

           Jackson spent 10 days at Hennepin County Medical Center full of tubes, including one to drain the blood from his left lung. He went through two surgeries. The bullet that entered his body near his left nipple had bounced around a bit, hitting the sac around his heart, his diaphragm, and his spleen before lodging near his spine. One of the other bullets was removed days later from his left hip, which had to be fitted with metal screws. The third is still lodged near his collarbone.

           The coming days were a reunion of sorts for Jackson. Friends who hadn't seen him in months, even years, flocked around his hospital bed. His father, to whom he'd never been close, visited every day. Jackson had lost touch with lifelong pals during the two years he'd been married. Even the ones he tried to stay in touch with had eventually stopped coming around his house. They didn't want to meet up with Stacy. They thought she was crazy.

           Police records show no arrests or charges stemming from altercations between Terrance and Stacy Jackson before the shooting. He had called the police about her on one occasion; for her part, the only concrete incident that Stacy Jackson's defense attorneys would ever be able to point to involved a broken rib she sustained during one of their fights. And on that occasion it appeared that she was the first to turn violent. Friends of Terrance Jackson, male and female, say Stacy (who, along with her mother and her attorney, declined to speak to City Pages) was typically the aggressor, a claim that police records seem to bear out. "I usually was the one to be physical," she is quoted as saying in one police report. She once had to go to the hospital with a broken hand--caused, according to her own account, by hitting her husband so hard.

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