Wilmington woman grateful for ‘miraculous’ recovery after


A Wilmington woman was shot six times. And she’s lived to talk about it.

Shelley Lancaster was left for dead, but now recovering. She shared her story with WRAL News about the man who nearly killed her in a Wilmington crime spree.

Shelley is a dear friend of WRAL reporter Chelsea Donovan. Donovan said she had no idea that when terror was running through the Wilmington community late last week, that she was shot multiple times. On Tuesday, Donovan went to the hospital to see Lancaster and with her positive spirit and zest for life, you would have no idea she suffered the injuries she did.

Last Thursday was a routine summer evening for Lancaster.

“Around 6:15 I was walking my dog, Maddie,” she said.

Suddenly, a car pulled up beside her on Lake Avenue. She thought to ask for directions.

“I turned my head and I looked and I smiled, and as I smiled I realized I was looking down the barrel of a gun,” Lancaster said. “Time slowed down, and all of a sudden, POW POW POW POW POW POW POW.”

Shelley Lancaster with dog, Maddie

Before she knew it, Lancaster, a 54-year-old massage therapist, had been shot six times.

“I turned and ran toward the house he clipped me from behind hit me in the back and went down,” Lancaster said.

She laid there lifeless, like a rag doll bleeding out, but she had her phone in her hand.

“I was like I have to call my parents, so I called them,” Lancaster said.

Neighbors rushed to Shelley’s side, where they called 911. She was conscious the entire time and rushed into surgery.

“One hit me in the abdomen, damaged my kidney, lacerated my liver, and then the ones that took me down, hit in the sacrum, a fracture in the pelvis,” Lancaster said.

While in the hospital, Lancaster was able to tell detectives the description of the man who shot her. That helped police track down the man who went on a crime spree through Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, even zip-tying and assaulting another woman. That suspect, William Gilmore, was shot and killed Friday

“I feel like I came face-to-face with evil,” Lancaster said.

Four days after the shooter sprayed her body with bullets, Lancaster is all smiles, positive and thriving. She was sitting in a room surrounded by friends and family, love and joy, even walking for the first time since the shooting.

“All of my doctors have said it’s miraculous,” Lancaster said. “They cant believe I’ve survived or progressed as much as I have.”

Lancaster is currently waiting to leave the hospital. She has a long road ahead of her for recovery, walking a bit more steady, She’ll be in a cast on her right elbow for six weeks.

“I believe its the power of love I have for my community, my friends, my family, my will to live,” she said.

On Tuesday, she was up and walking for the first time. Each foot forward was another step toward healing.

“I have seen so many good positive things come out of this,” Lancaster said. “There is no way to be negative about it.”

Maddie was not hurt in the ordeal.

You can help Lancaster with a donation through her GoFundMe page.

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