Because James Evans turned his head at just the right moment, the bullet came out through his cheek instead of entering his brain, his wife said.
Tara Evans spoke briefly during a news conference Monday at McKay-Dee Hospital. She nodded and smiled, then cried as Dr. Barbara Kerwin, the hospital intensive care unit medical director, talked about the extent of James Evans’ injuries.
Police say James was shot in the head by his son-in-law during a Father’s Day Mass on Sunday. He is expected to survive.
“He turned his head at the right time,” Tara said, sobbing through her words. “If he hadn’t turned his head, he would have been hit in the back of the head and he would’ve been dead.”
Tara, who was not scheduled to speak, clutched the hand of her daughter Karen Evans during the news conference, as others spoke about the events of Sunday. She then thanked the community for their prayers following the shooting at St. James the Just Catholic Church.
“Also I want to thank all the people who are praying for him and us and for all the parishioners,” Tara said. “That means the most to us.”
Kerwin said the bullet had entered near James Evans’ right ear and came out of his cheek. He has an oral tracheostomy and is unable to speak. He is listed in critical condition, but continues to make improvements. He does communicate with others, either by writing or hand gestures.
The bullet did not enter his brain, Kerwin said. James will need more surgeries to reconstruct his face and will need physical therapy.
Family spokesman the Rev. Erik Richtsteig said the 300 parishioners who were attending the service are “rattled,” but psychological help will be available to those who need it. He celebrated Mass on Monday.
“We didn’t want evil to win,” he said.
The church will celebrate a “Liturgy of Reparation of Healing” at 6 p.m. Thursday, he said.
Church officials will not reconsecrate the church, “because when God gives a gift he doesn’t take it back,” said Richtsteig.
Read more. And please keep all concerned in your prayers.