COLD CASE FILES: 5 years later, woman describes being shot in the head
Five years after a woman was shot in the head through the window of a South Bend employment agency, police have no idea who fire the gun.
No one expected Teresa Blake to survive. She did. She shared her story with WSBT's Kristin Bien. The hope? That you'll help heat up this cold case and bring justice to the person responsible.
Teresa Blake measures time in two ways: Before the shooting and after.
"I'm a different person than I was back then, just a different person," says Blake.
Before, Blake was a sister, a daughter, and a mother living a normal life in South Bend. She was a manager at Specialized Staffing solutions, a local employment agency. She was independent and driven. But on December 8th, 2010, life changed -- because it was almost taken away.
"It went in right back here, on the right side of my head," says Blake as she touches a groove in her skull. "The bullet is still lodged in my head -- pieces of it."
Blake's memory from that night is spotty, but she recalls some details. It was a busy day at work. She was sitting at her desk with her back to the window.
"All I remember is we were super busy in the office and I cancelled my appointment," says Blake, "we were having a staff meeting and there were two young ladies in front of me and one beside me."
The vertical blinds were partially closed, but Blake says when the heater would kick in, the blinds would move.
Just after 6:30 p.m. someone shot through the window, and hit Blake in the back of the head.
"I remember feeling something in the back of my head," describes Blake, "I remember talking and then not being able to talk. The next thing I remember, I was at the hospital in the ER and from there it was a blur."
Another woman sitting near Blake was injured by glass shards. Blake was the only one shot. Her brain was swollen and bleeding. Over the course of several weeks she fought a life threatening infection. No one, not even her doctors, expected her to survive.
"He told us that he didn't think Teresa would survive," says her father, Jack Blake. "He said he had been in the business this many years and he had never seen a gunshot wound this severe where the party has ever survived."
Her family would travel from LaPorte every day to visit her while she was in the Intensive Care Unit at Memorial.
"She couldn't talk. She was not responsive. She was just in a coma. She just laid there it was just a body that was there and we would visit that body," says her father.
But Jack says, one day, she did respond. And after 43 days in ICU, Blake was moved to a rehab facility in Indianapolis. She needed to relearn to talk and move.
"To this day i am surprised she survived that," says St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett. Corbett says they're still working on her case but investigators have little to go on.
"We have really had no movement on that. Nobody's talking. Rumors aren't out there. This one is truly a who done it," says Corbett.
Corbett says he can't share much about the case. He says, they did recover a bullet casing, they know where the shooter was standing when the gun was fired, and they know what type of gun was used. But, there are no suspects.
Blake on the other hand, believes she was targeted.
"I was the main one hit," she says, "I believe the person had perfect aim for me. No one else was injured."
Blake believes the person responsible, could have been a client -- someone unhappy about their employment status.
"Was there anyone angry enough to do something like this," we asked Blake.
"Yeah," she says, "there were plenty of people. Hundreds. For as many cases that were good, that you found them a job and they went permanent, there was as many bad cases where they were terminated for no call, no show, or not doing the job."
Police say, they don't know what the motive might have been. "I honestly don't know," says Corbett, "I don't have an answer for you. I don't know why someone could do this. Hopefully we will find out."
"It was stressful job but i loved it," says Blake.
Unfortunately, after the shooting, it is a job she is not able to do anymore. Blake has difficulty getting around, she has short term memory loss, vision and hearing issues, and she can't always control her left side. She has battled anxiety and depression as well. But, she is still here and still fighting.
Blake credits her family and friends with helping her recover. She has a 28-year-old daughter and two grandchildren, ages 3 and 8. Her faith in God is stronger than ever.
"I'll tell you by the grace of God, He was not done with me yet. He has bigger and better plans than what I know and He said you are going to stay here and so that is what has kept me going," says Blake.
Blake hasn't given up on knowing who changed her life that night.
"I have forgiven," she says, "it is in the Lord's hand and it is up to him to take care of things."
Investigators aren't giving up either.
"A long shot yeah," Corbett admits, "but that doesn't mean you quit. If it was easy everybody would do it."
If you have any information call:
Metro Homicide Unit: 574-235-5009
Crimestoppers: 1-800-342-STOP, or (574) 288-STOP.