Local News

Army medic stopped to help Fayetteville shooting victim

Posted March 29, 2011 9:22 p.m. EDT
Updated March 29, 2011 11:05 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.