Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 21, 2014

Shooting victim forgives assailant

Misty Wallace, Keith Blackburn share story of redemption

Misty Wallace was a high school senior with a full ride scholarship to play softball in college.

Keith Blackburn was a high school dropout on drugs and in gangs, expecting to be either dead or in prison after taking on a life of crime.

Their lives will forever be linked by an event that deeply changed both of them forever on Oct. 18, 1992, when Blackburn shot Wallace in the face during a carjacking attempt in Indianapolis.

In the 21 years that have followed, the event has infinitely shaped both of their lives. On Easter Sunday, both of them stood together on a stage at Crossroads Community Church through God’s forgiveness to tell their stories of redemption.

The story has grabbed attention across the state and country, appearing in the Indianapolis Star, USA Today and ABC’s “Katie” as both have moved past the shooting to share their stories together as an example of forgiveness.

“In my heart, I knew I was ready to forgive him and move on,” Wallace said. “I just wanted to hear it from him.”

On that fateful night, Wallace had stopped to use a payphone near a Burger King, while Blackburn was planning to commit a robbery and needed to steal a car. When he spotted Wallace at the payphone, he was ready to steal the car but asked her how long she was going to be on the phone.

He realized Wallace had seen his face, making her a witness to any potential crime. So Blackburn pulled out a handgun, put it to her cheek and pulled the trigger.

The shot caused her to fall to the pavement in front of her vehicle. Miraculously, her car had broken down, which didn’t allow Blackburn to start the car and likely run over Wallace while leaving the scene.

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