SPRING VALLEY, Calif.
The East County woman who was shot by a San Diego County Sheriff's deputy told 10News on Wednesday she got no warning before he pulled the trigger.
Jennifer Orey had gone out the front door of her La Presa home at about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 19 when she heard what she thought was her ex-husband coming home.
When she went outside, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, she did not see anyone but did notice the glow of a flashlight.
In a soft voice, Orey said, "Hello, I'm the homeowner," but received no response. She said that is when the deputy "slid out" of the gate that leads to her backyard with his gun at his chest.
"He said nothing," said Orey. "I was expecting freeze, who are you or something and I was really surprised that there was nothing and then the gunshot went off."
She added, "I remember the muzzle flash, the smoke, everything went in slow motion. I remember seeing the puff of black smoke, the fireball and I remember thinking, 'Oh God, please don't let this hurt anything important.'"
As the shot hit her left breast, Orey turned her body.
"I turned with the bullet, otherwise it probably would have went right straight through me," she recalled.
The bullet pierced her breast, passed through her left arm and ravaged her left pinky finger.
"I just recall after I was shot, the deputy that shot me apologized to me and I asked them while I was still trying to come to grips with it? I was still kind of standing. I asked, 'Why was your weapon drawn? Why were you in my yard?'"
She got no response but said she did get an apology.
"He just said, 'I'm sorry, ma'am. You startled me,'" she said.
Orey said she could tell she was going into shock and was afraid she might die of her injuries. The former Navy search and rescue team member started rattling off information to the deputies, such as phone numbers of family members, her blood type and how they should treat her injuries until paramedics arrived.
"As I was lying there I remembered my training and I was evaluating," she said. "OK, I can breathe, so hopefully it didn't hit my lung. I'm still ticking right now so gosh, hopefully it didn't hit me in the heart. If I hadn't have moved, it very well would have."
Orey asked deputies to bring her 8-year-old daughter to her but they refused.
"I really just wanted to see my daughter once and just let her know that I love her and let her know that I'm going to fight through this to stay alive for her," she said.
They also refused to let Orey's ex-husband, who pulled up during the commotion, to comfort her.
"She was totally unresponsive," said Carl Orey. "I tried to get some sort of an answer from her. I said, 'Jennifer, Jennifer what happened?' I saw a wound and a lot of blood in her left breast area. It looked like to me she had been shot."
Carl Orey, who is a former San Diego police officer and now works for the Department of Homeland Security, called the sheriff department's handling of the shooting "a travesty."
"After she was shot, she put her hand on this deputy's shoulder for her balance and he said, 'Take your hand off of me,'" said Carl Orey. "She was fingerprinted. I think she was treated unprofessionally. I am appalled at the way she was treated and the fact that my daughter and I were left with no knowledge of her condition at all."
The Oreys believe sheriff?s deputies need better training in the use of non-lethal force.
"Jennifer is in a lot of pain," said Carl Orey, as he clutched her right hand. "Thank God we're not planning a funeral because we were very close to it. I honestly feel with the trajectory of that bullet, we're blessed that we don't have to bury her and I have to raise a daughter without her mother."
Jennifer Orey has hired an attorney to file a tort claim against the sheriff?s department. In that claim, they will ask the department to accept liability for what happened and to pay for Orey's medical bills and an unspecified amount of money to cover the physical and emotional pain and suffering the incident caused.