HOUSTON A nice quiet dinner nearly turned deadly for a Kingwood woman last month when she was accidentally shot in the buttocks by another diner. He said it was an accident, but the woman s family says that s not good enough.
We feel that there should be both criminal and civil penalties for this reckless and negligent behavior, said Richard Barker of Kingwood.
Barker s mother, Diana, was shoton January 13 at Raffa s in northeast Houston. She was having dinner with her husband and friends when the man s gun fell out of his jacket onto the floor and fired.
Richard Barker was also there that night, but didn t realize his parents were there until he heard a loud bang.
Someone shouted gun or gunshot and I looked out into the restaurant and I saw my dad standing up in the middle of the restaurant kind of reaching down to prevent my mom from falling off the chair, said Barker. I said to my friend, I said, Oh my God, that s my dad,' and then, 'That s my mom, and ran over to my parents.
Paramedics rushed the 71-year-old Kingwood grandmother to Ben Taub Hospital where doctors performed life-saving surgery.
The bullet came up and hit her in the left buttocks and then came through her hip bone, up across her stomach and is still lodged in the right hand side of her chest today, said Barker.
After a second surgery and more than two weeks in the hospital, Diana Barkerwasmovedto The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, also known as TIRR. The recovery hasn t been easy and it s likely going toresult in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Thankfully the bullet barely missed a major artery and missed all vital organs (liver, kidneys, heart, spleen) but made a mess of the small and large intestines, Barker s son said in a blog on the caringbridge.org website.
Meanwhile, the man whose gun fired the bullet is not facing charges at this time, although prosecutors say that could change. His name is not being released because he has not been charged with a crime.
The gun owner has previously told 11 News he is distraught over what happened and didn t realize the loaded gun was in his jacket.
It scares me if that were the truth because that means he had a loaded weapon in his house and he didn t know where the gun was, said Barker. Our message is if you re going to carry a gun, you should carry it safely and securely so something like this doesn t happen. And if you don t carry it safely and securely, that there are consequences both criminal and civil.
The case is getting worldwide attention. Through the CaringBridge website, thousands have checked up on Diana Barker s recovery.
The site provides loved ones patient information during a significant medical event. Her family updates the site daily.
Complete strangers have contacted the Barkers offering prayers. Sunday afternoon, friends of the Barkers, loved ones and strangers walked a prayer labyrinth at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Kingwood. A prayer labyrinth is used for prayer and spiritual meditation.
To have an accident like that happen in a restaurant where people feel comfortable, and don t expect to feel vulnerable, I think everybody identifies with that and wants to do something, said Barker family friend Barbara Hemphill, who helped plan the prayer labyrinth.
Diana Barker has months of recovery ahead of her, but with the support of friends and loves ones, her son believes her recovery will be successful.
She is a fighter, so she will recover, said Barker. We just hope and pray that she gets back to as normal as she was before this tragic incident.
Barker may be released from TIRR later this week.