'My life flashed before my own eyes': Mother of 2 left blind in 1 eye after shooting

A Winnipeg mother who was left blind in one eye after being shot believes she had a guardian angel looking over her as she rushed to move her three-year-old daughter from getting hit.

Nicole Rondeau says she was shot after a group came demanding drugs from her home — she had none

Nicole Rondeau, 23, was shot in the head with a sawed-off shotgun in her home on Flora Avenue last Friday. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

A Winnipeg mother who was left blind in one eye after being shot believes she had guardian angels looking over her as she rushed to move her three-year-old daughter from getting hit.

Nicole Rondeau, 23, was shot in the head with a sawed-off shotgun in her home on Flora Avenue last Friday. The mother of two said a group of teens came knocking on her door at around 2:30 a.m. demanding drugs.

Nicole Rondeau recalls being shot in the head:

Nicole Rondeau survived after being shot in the head with a sawed-off shotgun in her home on Flora Avenue last Friday. 1:01

She said when she told them there were no drugs in the home, the group became aggressive and tried to force their way in even after she told them there were kids inside. As her partner tried to hold the front door shut, the group was finally able to break it down.

They then fired a shot, hitting her with several pellets, two of which are still lodged in her head.

'My life flashed before my own eyes'

"My life flashed before my own eyes. That's all I seen was me being a baby and then everything that led up to that. I never believed people when they said that their life flashes before their eyes but I believe them now," Rondeau said. She said doctors removed two pellets from her head but there's still two in her right eye, which she has lost sight in completely.

"I hurt all over. I had 35 stitches in my head, a couple on my face. I can't see out of my eye. I was protecting my daughter by pushing her out of the way. We didn't even know who these guys were," Rondeau said.

Rondeau has staples all over her head and her right eye is covered with a patch. She won't be able to see out of it again, she said. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

"I must have had guardian angels looking over me and as they were putting me down to get everything ready I seen my guardian angels, so I'm alive. That's all that matters."

Winnipeg police believe the shooting last Friday is connected to a stand-off in the 100 block of Chudley Street that lasted about 12 hours.

Teens, 22-year-old man charged

Police said three male suspects were socializing at a house on the street when they left with a sawed-off shotgun to rob a woman shortly after 2 a.m. The cops were called to the home on Chudley Street after one of the suspects was involved in a dispute with a partygoer and pointed the shotgun at him. Police have charged a 15-year-old boy with attempted murder and a long list of other offences.

They've also charged an 18-year-old man, a 22-year-old man, and a 13- and 16-year-old boy with a number of offences in connection with the incidents. Rondeau has already had two surgeries since being rushed to hospital. Her head has staples all over it and her right eye is covered with a patch. She said all she can see is shadows out of it. 

"I'm blind now."

This photo inside Rondeau's home shows a wall that pellets from a shotgun hit. (Dustin Fagnan/Submitted)

She added doctors were able to save her eye so she doesn't have to get a prosthetic. 

Despite her injuries, Rondeau was remarkably positive during an interview with CBC — she said her three-year-old daughter and her other baby girl who will soon turn one have given her strength to be alive but she said they too have been impacted by the shooting.

"It's hard for them to even come near me 'cause their mommy's hurt."

An online fundraising campaign has been started to help Rondeau and her family get back on their feet. She said she will be moving out of the home on Flora Avenue to somewhere safer if enough cash is raised.

Rondeau said her family recently moved into the home and were assured by the landlord they wouldn't have any problems with it.

"It seemed OK and I was finally just getting used to it 'cause nothing was happening, no nothing, and then this all happened." 

Nicole Rondeau says she was shot after a group came demanding drugs from her home. 2:29

About the Author

Austin Grabish

Reporter

​Austin Grabish is a reporter for CBC News in Winnipeg​ where he files for TV, web and radio. ​​Born and raised in Manitoba, Austin has had an itch for news since he was young. He landed his first byline when he was just 18. Before joining CBC, he reported for several outlets with work running across the country.​ Email: austin.grabish@cbc.ca