Family of deadly stray bullet victim speaks out - KPTV - FOX 12

Family of deadly stray bullet victim speaks out

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A Clackamas County woman is facing manslaughter charges, after police say, she fired a gun and unintentionally hit an elderly woman with the stray bullet.

While the family of 80-year-old Donna McQueen is no doubt upset over the loss of their loved one, they say they’re more frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the tragic accident.

Rebecca McQueen planned to stop in at mother’s home at the Clackamas Trails Apartments to pick her up Saturday, but ended up walking into a crime scene - her mother on the floor, not breathing.

“I just assumed she was dead from a heart attack. I was sobbing and sobbing and doing CPR and said, ‘she’s dead, she’s dead’,” Rebecca told Fox 12.

But it wasn’t a heart attack. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said Donna McQueen died from a single gunshot wound from a bullet that came through her apartment window.

“I mean who thinks their 80-year-old has been shot? I mean there isn’t anyone who doesn’t like her. There’s no reason for it, nobody had broken in, it didn’t make any sense,” Rebecca recalls.

The bullet came from across the complex, where investigators said 21-year-old Noelle St. John fired a gun, unintentionally hitting McQueen.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that in this crowded community that there is a gun that’s available to someone who is obviously unstable,” Rebecca said.

St. John was arraigned on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. 

Even after losing her mother, Rebecca said she isn’t holding onto anger.

“I know a little about Noelle and I can say that I’m not angry at her and I don’t think anyone in my family is angry at her. We are terribly sad and we see how tragic this is,” Rebecca told Fox 12.

Donna McQueen’s granddaughter, Jenna Deml, is also devastated.

“She was the only grandmother I had left,” Deml told Fox 12.

But she too is not holding a grudge against the young woman who pulled the trigger. In fact, Deml said she knows St. John personally.

“I went to middle school with Noelle. I hadn’t seen her in ten years. I didn’t know what her life was like. But all sort of vengeance that I had just went away,” Deml explains.

And while Deml mourns the death of her grandmother, she said she can’t help but think of St. John and what she must be going through.

“She was always really nice to me, and it seemed like she had a good heart. And if there is any of that heart left in there I think she will want to help herself and her kid. It is what my grandmother would’ve wanted,” Deml said.

A preliminary hearing for St. John is set for July 5.

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