(BBC) – When Nancy Shore drove home from church one day in August 2012 a hitman was waiting for her with a gun. She survived, but was stunned to learn, from her hospital bed, who police accused of paying to have her killed.
“We really had an awesome marriage,” says 57-year-old Nancy Shore.
“Obviously, you go through your ups and downs. I mean we weren’t perfect, we had our issues from time to time and we always worked through those.”
Nancy married Frank Howard in 1983 and they raised three children together in Carrollton, Texas.
“He was very kind, gentle, loving. He was very involved with our children,” she says.
“He coached soccer teams when they were little kids – we went to all of their soccer games. And some of them [did] musical theatre.”
The couple sang in the choir at their local church and held Bible study meetings for the youth group in their family home. But when their children grew up, Frank began to travel more for his work as an accountant. Nancy began to feel more isolated.
“I was a stay-at-home mom and that was my job, and once they started leaving it was getting hard for me,” says Nancy. “And then he started getting more busy with work and I guess you would say it felt like we were growing, in distance, apart.”
Frank was away on what Nancy thought was another business trip on the evening of 18 August 2012. She had attended a baptism at her church and after stopping to get a takeaway, she drove back home.
“I drove into my garage and suddenly there was a man with his arm around my neck and a gun to my head,” says Nancy. He demanded her handbag.
Nancy managed to wrestle herself away and turned to face her attacker, who was wearing a black baseball cap. Terrified, she accidentally handed him the bag of takeaway food.
“He demanded my purse a third time with expletives,” says Nancy. “I was close enough to him to shove my purse into his chest and when I did I cried out, ‘Jesus save me!’ and he immediately shot me in the head and I went down.”
Nancy lay unconscious on the floor while her assailant ran off, taking the handbag but leaving her car, which he could easily have stolen. When she recovered consciousness, Nancy could barely breathe and was in excruciating pain.
The bullet had gone through her head and lodged in her right lung.
“When I came to I thought you’re going to die, and then that’s when God spoke to me and said, ‘Get up.’ He gave me the physical strength to get up,” says Nancy.
Her mobile phone was in her stolen handbag so she crawled to the car and pressed a button designed to summon an emergency rescue service. When this didn’t work, Nancy made a huge effort and staggered into the house. Here she caught her reflection in a mirror for the first time.
“I looked at myself and all I could see was blood from my eye down to my beautiful purple shirt,” says Nancy.
“At that point I didn’t realise that I had lost my left eye.”
Struggling for breath, she managed to call the emergency services, screaming “Help me, help me!” She told them where she was and provided a description of her attacker. She then miraculously walked to the front door to wait for the paramedics’ arrival.
A policeman at the scene contacted Nancy’s children who phoned their father Frank.
“He began weeping and being beside himself, as one daughter described it,” says Nancy. “And he was out of control trying to get to my rescue.”
Once Frank was able to fly back home, he visited his wife at the hospital. Nancy says her daughter described to her how he fell to the floor before he first saw her, such was his distress.
Yet as the police began to investigate, they found some shocking data on Frank’s mobile phone, including photographs and text messages from another woman. Frank had been with her at the time of the attack, and not on a business trip.
The affair had been going on for three years.