Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The victim paralyzed by a stray bullet in Five Points over the weekend was shot waiting for a cab, her uncle says.
Martha Childress was just trying to respect her mother's wishes of not walking back to campus from Five Points at night, that it would be safer for her to use a taxi.
"She is angry. A lot of us are angry," said her uncle, Jim Carpenter. "We are angry this man is on the streets after his extensive criminal record, repeated arrests with repeated granting of parole, why is he on the street? There is no reason he should be on the street."
News 19's Jenny Wirtzberger spoke to Carpenter by phone Tuesday afternoon. Childress was hit by a bullet that early Sunday morning that Columbia police say was fired by 20-year-old Michael Juan Smith.
"Everyone has pulled together to help fight for Martha," her uncle went on, "She had a hard time and came close to dying on the operating table."
Previous Coverage: USC Student Shot in 5 Points
Previous Coverage: Police, USC React to 5 Points Shooting
Carpenter told News 19 that Martha came close to dying not just on the operating table, but also with the EMTs while being transported from the scene of the shooting.
"The EMTs good work and the doctors good work...I credit both of them with saving her life basically."
He said she is paralyzed, she's angry, and she doesn't want to be pitied. In fact, her uncle said "One of the things that was concerning her the most (Monday afternnon) was 'Am I going to get behind on my school work because of this?'"
Greenville is home for Martha, who graduated from JL Mann High there with a 4.0 GPA. She recently accepted a bid from the Zeta Tau Beta sorority Saturday night, hours before she was shot.
Martha's not yet out of the woods medically either. Carpenter said "her doctors are working to repair damage to her lungs, liver and kidney. The bullet severed her spinal column, and it's still lodged in there."
She was showing her best friend from home around Columbia last weekend and they had just left the Pita Pit when the shooting occurred.
Childress knew the moment it happened. Her uncle says the moment she went down, she said to her friend: "I can't feel my legs, I can't feel my feet." When she came out of surgery, she repeated those words to her parents.
"I don't know what she remembers, but I do know that when she was shot, she told her friend "I can't feel my legs," she knew something bad had happened."
Martha's uncle says "She's beautiful. She's tiny. She is a hard worker. But (the shooting) is a life-changing and very traumatic incident."