Mother, daughter recovering in hospital after Sunday’s violent carjacking attempts
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A mother and her daughter were just leaving an urgent care clinic off Highland Road near Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge Sunday when they nearly lost their lives at the hands of a man who tried to carjack their vehicle.
Late Sunday afternoon, Debbie and Rachel Tullos were hospitalized and awaiting likely surgery to remove bullets still lodged in their shoulders. Debbie’s injuries are even worse, family members said. She is on a ventilator and has a broken jaw and a lacerated tongue from a bullet that went through her face. Rachel, who is Debbie’s adult daughter, had just taken a test to confirm she does not have COVID-19, a requirement for her to start classes soon.
They were in their vehicle, waiting on the test results, when 28-year-old Aaron Morgan is accused of running up to their car and opening fire.
Their vehicle has multiple bullet holes in it, including two in the windshield and another in the driver’s side window.
Hours before, Morgan allegedly stabbed his grandmother to death before also stabbing his mother. His mother survived.
Morgan sped away from that scene but knew authorities would likely be looking for the vehicle he was driving so he went in search of one to steal, investigators speculated. Another person in the area was also shot by Morgan, authorities said.
Morgan was eventually able to steal a vehicle and left the area. Police soon spotted him and chased him to an area near the CVS pharmacy on Bluebonnet Blvd. near Jefferson Highway. He was wounded in a shootout with police and transported to a hospital.
“We could be planning funerals right now. But with the grace of God we’re not,” said Randy Rice.
It was the news no family member wants to hear.
“Bright sunny, Sunday morning and you’re thinking about church, coffee and beignets. And you get a horrific call like that. It’s just hard to understand,” said Rice.
Randy Rice’s sister-in-law is Debbie Tullos. Debbie’s daughter, Rachel, is his niece.
Rachel was shot in the shoulder, and is in pretty good shape.
“(Bullet) went in one shoulder and lodged all the way across in her collar bone. The bullet is actually holding the collar bone together, and they don’t know if they are going to remove the bullet or not,” said Rice.
However, Debbie has a longer road to recovery, after bullets hit her in three places.
“Just this one in the cheek and the jaw bone. Her jaw is broken,” said Rice.
Randy says these two women are maybe the most amazing people God has created.
“Rachel being autistic, she loves three things.. She loves God, she loves her family, and she loves pigs. Debbie is, I think if you googled lover of life, the name Debbie Tullos would pop up,” said Rice.
Randy believes God is the reason the pair is still alive.
Especially making sure that the women were near an urgent care clinic when this all went down.
“I think the Lord’s hand was on this, because I think not only he did deflect the bullets from he and Rachel, but being there, the nurses and the doctor on call at that clinic, were rendering aid immediately. And they must have a hotline to the ambulance, because the ambulance was there within moments. They continued their hand, and got them on their way to the hospital,” said Rice.
While the road to recovery may be a little bumpy, Rice has just one request from the community.
“Pray hard and pray often,” said Rice.
Debbie had surgery Wednesday on her face, after the swelling went down.
Doctors say despite having significant damage and trauma to her mouth, the surgery went better than expected.
Over the next six to eight weeks, Debbie will be given heavy antibiotics to fight off any infection so this time to recover is crucial.
Rachel Tullos has been released from the hospital and is recovering from her gunshot wound at home.
Both women are expected to recover.
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