LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – The family of Sally Strelecki, faced with her dire medical situation following a shooting through an apartment wall, decided to remove life support from the 27 year old.
"We've come to the conclusion that they've done all they can for her," said her mother Amy Graham. "It's just not Sally anymore at all. It's just a shell. No quality of life, none… There's nothing they can do for her anymore. They've done such a wonderful job trying to save her. It's amazing she made it this far."
Sally Strelecki (credit: Amy Graham)
Sally was shot in the head Oct. 2 in an apartment complex in Centennial. A man was arguing with his girlfriend next door. The man, Mickel McClean, grabbed a gun and he fired.
Two different stories emerged when police arrived, say investigators. McLean, 26, told police he and his girlfriend struggled over a pile of clothes in his arm and the gun went off. The girlfriend told investigators that was not true.
She said McLean struck her in the face and pulled out a gun, firing it at her from about eight feet away, missing her. She felt it was accidental because she said he'd done something similar to her about a year earlier.
"I am angry. I'm angry at the carelessness of that man," said Graham. "It's easy to just retreat and hate the world and hate everything, but I'm not going to. That would be a disservice to Sally."
Sally's sister, Emma, said the support of people in the community for the family helped carry them through terrible times.
"The outpouring of support from our community and everything has really shined a light of hope that there are still good people out there."
"Overwhelmingly beautiful," her mother added. "Just the outpouring of love and outrage about what happened."
Like any mother, Graham has a series of images in her head of her daughter since she was a little girl.
"I never thought when I held her at 2 days old, in my arms, looking down at her that this would have been her fate at such a young age." Her girl was one to be happy and smiling. "A little blond toe head. A grin from ear to ear… We call her Sweet Sally Rose because that's what she is."
Emma resolved to be more like her sister.
"She was so outgoing so I have to try to be more outgoing for her and live like how Sally would have want me to have been, and I'm going to try to do that for her."
The family spoke with doctors Friday and met on Saturday to decide what steps to take. Sally was engaged to be married. Her fiancé was in the apartment with her when she was shot.
"My girl is not going to enjoy food or petting her dogs or the mother's touch or her sister's love or her fiancé's love. She can never enjoy that ever again," said her mother.
(credit: Amy Graham)
Graham says she will become active in opposing gun violence.
"Every mass shooting we're all so sorry, the thoughts and prayers and it all goes away, until the next one happens. And the next one, and now Sally, and I'm not going to stand for it. I'm going to do everything I can."
First the family will stay by her daughter's bedside as her life support is slowly removed. Their heartbreak will be together.
"Be like her. I don't ever want people to forget her," said her mother. "I don't want anyone to go, ever, through this."
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