SUMMERVILLE -- Letisha Wilson gave the robbers her money, her purse and her car keys and pleaded with them not to force her into the trunk of her own car for the sake of her 1-year-old child at home.
The 27-year-old consignment shop owner was delivering pizzas on the side Saturday night in Summerville when one of the men pointed a gun at her face and demanded she "give me all the money and get in the trunk."
She eagerly handed over her belongings, but as a former police officer -- including two years with the Charleston Police Department -- climbing into the trunk was never an option, she said Tuesday.
"I said, 'Please don't, I have a baby, I have a baby. I'm all she's got.' "
The man told her he didn't care and fired a shot into her thigh.
Wilson decided then she had to fight back. As someone who lived on the streets of Las Vegas for two years as a teenager and ran with a gang before finding God and her own self-worth, she said she fought back without any fear.
"The childhood I came out of, I survived that," she said. "If I survived that, I'm not going to sit down for no two little thugs."
She suspected trouble from the beginning that Saturday night. She pulled her Ford with the Dominos Pizza sign on top in front of the house at 123 Wilson Drive about 11:30 p.m. and immediately became suspicious when she saw the house was dark inside and outside.
She called the number on the delivery slip. As the phone rang, two "boys" approached her passenger door from the front porch. She cracked the window about an inch. "Right away they were making me nervous because he had a hand in his pocket," she said.
One of the men told her what he ordered and pulled a little money out of his pocket. She exited the car, removed the pizza and approached them.
She said the suspect teased her about being scared, right before he pulled out a silver handgun and pointed it in her face.
"At first I didn't know if it was a real gun or not but then the tone of his voice -- you know he was frightened too -- the tone of his voice told me it was real," she said.
She handed him $19 and her purse and her car keys but backed away. The gunman told her repeatedly to get in the trunk, but Wilson refused.
"I said, 'I gave you the money, you got my car keys, take my car. You can take it, you can have it all.' "
The second man squared around behind her and tried to force her inside the trunk. Wilson resisted and told them about her baby.
The man behind her started to back away from her, but not the gunman. He told her he didn't care.
"He lowered the gun and shot me in the leg, thinking that was going to make me comply," Wilson said. "But when he shot me I knew at that point he was willing to do a lot more so I knew I had to take him out."
Using her police training, she put the wound out of her mind and used the lowered gun to her advantage, grabbing him by the wrist, throwing him to the ground and prying the gun out of his hand.
The man jumped on her back. As he did, Wilson said she turned the gun over her shoulder, pointed it at the man's face and pulled the trigger. No shot fired. The round had jammed, she said.
As she tried to clear it, the man pushed her onto the ground and bit hard enough to leave bite marks on her elbow until she let go. "Give me my gun back, give me my gun back," he screamed at her.
He stood up over her and tried to pull her up by her shirt but she "went dead weight on him."
He stuck the gun to the back of her head and asked her where her cell phone was. She told him it was in the car.
"I told him you can have the shirt off my back, you can have everything in my pockets but I'm not getting in the trunk."
He tried to pull the trigger again but the gun was still jammed, she said. The men gave up and drove off in her car. Wilson said she cried for help from people in the neighborhood who saw what happened ,but they didn't help. She went to another house whose residents called 911. She stayed on their porch and watched her attackers pick up a third person down the street.
She watched her own car speed by.
The police arrived and recovered her damaged car not far from where the shooting happened. The gun was inside the car, Summerville police said.
Officers briefly detained a man they found walking in the area that night but had not made an arrest as of Tuesday afternoon.
Summerville Police Capt. Jon Rogers said the case is being investigated.
Wilson was taken to the hospital but was treated and released after doctors found that the bullet entered and exited her thigh without doing any damage to the bone or arteries.
She can walk on the leg without any help. She joked about it with the ambulance driver that night. "If I could have a baby this is nothing," she told him. "This is over and done with."
Rogers said choosing to fight back against an attacker is an individual choice. It can often make the situation worse. But in this case, "she may have saved her own life," Rogers said. "We don't know."
Wilson said she is taking a break from delivering pizzas for a while but she's not going to let the incident change her.
"He thought I was going to roll over but he picked the wrong one," she said of the shooter. "I'm not afraid now and I'm not going to be afraid tomorrow."