Local News

Army medic stopped to help Fayetteville shooting victim

Posted March 29, 2011

— A soldier's instinct and intervention from God are what Army Staff Sgt. Tressa Lackey says compelled her to stop to help a 21-year-old woman who had been shot in the head Monday on the All American Expressway in Fayetteville.

Lackey tried to stop the bleeding even as, witnesses say, the victim's ex-husband left the scene and ran into a nearby wooded area.

Investigators said Frances Marie Del Valle Sanchez, 21, and her ex-husband were traveling south together on the freeway in a black GMC Yukon on Monday afternoon when they got into a minor wreck, spun out of control and ended up in the median.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Sanchez lying outside the vehicle. She had been shot in the head.

She died Tuesday evening.

Her ex-husband, a Fort Bragg soldier whose name has not been released, was in the driver's seat.

Lackey, a combat medic in the Army Reserve and Iraq veteran, was traveling north on the freeway, on her way to an appointment at Fort Bragg. She stopped when she saw what she thought was a car wreck, with a victim lying bleeding on the ground.

"God convicted my heart to stop," she said. Other passersby had gathered around Sanchez, but Lackey tried to use her medical training to help.

"I didn't have the tools that I needed. I wasn't able to help her the way I wanted to help her," Lackey said. "The only thing I was able to do was apply pressure to stop the bleeding as much as I could."

She said she and others who stopped to help tried to soothe Sanchez with comforting words until paramedics arrived.

"We just kept trying to tell her, 'Honey, it's going to be okay. We're here, we're here. Just keep with us. Stay with us," Lackey said.

Tressa Lackey Army medic stopped to help Fayetteville shooting victim

After paramedics took over rescue efforts, Lackey, a mother of two, went home to her family praying for the woman she had held in her arms. That's when, she said, a whirlwind of questions came to her mind about the victim.

"Does she have children? (I wondered about) her mother, her father, her siblings," said Lackey.

Though she's shaken by the shooting, Lackey said she was glad she stopped.

"I mean, I just hope that God continues to place me in the right place at the right time," she said.

Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened to Sanchez. Her ex-husband was detained for questioning Monday, but was later released.

No charges have been filed.


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  • genralwayne Mar 30, 2011

    Gee, I wonder why god didn't intervene to stop the trigger from being pulled. Woulda saved everyone a heap o' trouble.

  • sunneyone Mar 30, 2011

    I am thankful that she stopped to help. lisapeters, I do believe the victim was aware of those helping her and heard them.

  • kanji Mar 30, 2011

    Perhaps he ran into the woods thinking she might shoot him. There's no telling what happened. Ex wives can be just as hateful and vindictive as ex husbands.

  • Dark_Horse Mar 30, 2011

    Bryan Mims must have gone to the Acme School of Sensationalized Journalism.

  • davido Mar 30, 2011

    genralwayne: "What say you armchair detectives push away from your keyboards and let the professionals handle this."

    We are trained professional Golo-ers. Don't try this at home kids!

  • cwood3 Mar 30, 2011

    They need evidence in order to hold the man. Quite possibly, they lacked that evidence necessary to charge him with a crime. I'm sure he was told to stay in the area.

    Sargeant Lackey, thank you for your service -not only to our country-but to humanity in general. We need more men and women like you willing to step up when needed irregardless of the situation.

    God bless you.

  • me2you Mar 30, 2011

    I'm finding more and more that you have to go to other news sites to the "rest of the story"

  • LetsGetHigh Mar 30, 2011

    how does this guy get released?

  • seankelly15 Mar 30, 2011

    anneonymousone - "...help that the woman who was (apparently) killed by her ex-husband..."

    You didn't read the story, did you?

  • genralwayne Mar 30, 2011

    "I don't understand why her ex-husband was questioned - then released. He ran away - if he was not guilty don't you think he would have stayed to help her???????????"

    Thank the goddess that people like you are not allowed to wear a badge. An investigator must look at all sides of a case. For example: The ex-wife may have threatened suicide to "get even" for the divorce. The ex-husband, trying to get the gun from her, loses control and wrecks the truck. After the wreck she either shoots herself or the gun goes off accidentally during the struggle. The ex-husband could have been nauseated and gone into the woods to relieve himself in private. You've clearly overlooked the fact that he returned to the car and submitted to questioning. That is just ONE of several possible scenarios. What say you armchair detectives push away from your keyboards and let the professionals handle this.