domestic violence help

Shooting Survivor Tells Her Story to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

A decade ago Lan Phan was shot by an estranged boyfriend. Today she wants to help other domestic violence victims

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Lan Phan was shot and wounded by an estranged boyfriend 10 years ago.

The man went into the Ellicott City, Maryland, nail salon where she was working and shot her in the shoulder in front of her coworkers.

“I saw him walk in with a gun; everybody ran out of the salon," Phan said. "I walked up towards him and said, ‘What are you doing this in my workplace?'”

She shares two children with the gunman, Tuan Minh Pham, who she said was abusive. At the time, she had gotten a protective order against him but never thought he would shoot her. Now, Phan said she wants to share her story to help other domestic violence victims.

The shot to her shoulder went through her back and could have killed her, according to Phan's doctor. The injury left a scar.

“The bullet stopped very close to my spine," Phan said. "He said if the bullet had just moved up a little further, I’d be paralyzed permanently.”

After the incident, Phan wasn’t able to work and nearly lost her home. A decade later, her life is back on track. She now owns Elegant Nail Salon in Beltsville, which she opened just before the pandemic hit.

“We only opened for six weeks then shut down for three months,” Phan said. “God gave me a second chance but also rough road to be where I am right now.”

One way she’s healed from the shooting is forgiving the man who shot her. She said she recently went to court to support him having his 65-year sentence reduced.

"God gave me a second chance to be here today ..." Phan said. "And I know God would be proud that I forgive the person that hurt me."

As a domestic violence and gun violence survivor, Phan wants to help other women strengthen laws surrounding protective orders. The advocate and business owner believes police need to go after those who violate protective orders right away.

"Within a minute you could be dead ..." Phan said. "You can’t say we will be there in a few hours you ... can’t do that."

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