Find Hope

My son and husband's gunfight did not end well.

She said, “there’s a detective on the phone. He wants to talk to you.”


He told Joseph he was going to shoot and kill me, then he was going to shoot and kill himself. My son’s frame of mind was not good. 

Rick was a national lifetime member of the NRA. He was a reloader of ammunition for his living. He traveled to gun shows. I met him in Birmingham. I sold radio there but I was a bartender at Jim and Nicks and he came in there on a Friday night. In a couple of months, I moved to West Monroe, Louisiana. What was I thinking? 

I loved Rick. He was a good man. He did tell me and confess to me that he was a drug addict when we were dating. He said, “Once a drug addict always a drug addict.” That’s when crystal meth was kind of kicking around in the late ’90s, early 2000’s. He hadn’t hit me or anything but he was becoming very abusive, verbally and very frighteningly actually. I packed a truck and we left. I left everything. I stayed away from him for eight months but I got back with him. Now, I’m a typical textbook case of an abuse victim. 

Rick had crystal meth, oxycodone, and hydrocodone in his body. I have since learned that it’s called speedballing in the drug world. That means when you’re doing uppers and downers at the same time and it turns you psychotic. 

I fully believe that Rick would have shot me. I found journals with Rick’s writing in there talking about me, calling me the two-headed snake and God told him to kill me. Scary, scary stuff.

On a Friday night July 31st, 2015 my daughter came in and woke me up. She said, “there’s a detective on the phone. He wants to talk to you.” I got on the phone with this detective in Monroe, Louisiana and he said, “your son is with me.” (Joseph still lived there.) “There’s been an altercation and Rick Woodard is dead. Your son shot him.”

I couldn’t believe it. Joseph was eighteen. I didn’t know what to think. He said, “You need to get down here as quickly as possible.” 

Here is what happened. His father came home unexpectedly while he was house sitting. They got into a fight about Rick’s cat and then my son's cat being there. Rick was crazy and he started threatening to kill Joseph. He threatened to kill Joseph’s girlfriend. He was pushing her and things like that. Apparently, he had told Joseph the week before he went out of town that (I came to town on Sunday which would have been August 2nd because I was coming to get my Christmas decorations, the one thing I had left behind in the attic), he told Joseph he was going to shoot and kill me. Then he was going to shoot and kill himself. My sons' frame of mind was not good.

Joseph went in to get the cat litter and the stuff. He saw the twenty-two on the banister or hearth of the fireplace. He grabbed it. Rick came in after him. Rick came at him and Joseph shot him.

Joseph said he pulled the trigger and it jammed. He then pulled the trigger three more times until Rick went down and he threw, (he was left-handed), he threw the gun out of his hand.

He went out to the car and Natches was in there, cause she heard the gunfire. He said, “I think I have killed my father. You need to call 911.”

I was still in a state of shock. We got to the house and the first thing was this whole thing where I have to talk to my son. He was crying. I was crying and my brother was trying to….anyway.

It’s hard to remember everything that was said. It was so awful. I was just out of my mind. 

So, if it hadn’t been for my relationship with Christ I probably would have gone out of my mind. 

I was heading to Monroe, it’s the summer of 2015, and up comes this song by Danny Gokey, “Tell your heart to beat again.”

That was the one, man. It was like God speaking directly to me. That’s how I made it. You know, therapy, yeah, whatever. You know what? It’s my faith. That’s what saved me. 

The district attorney said, “Look, Wanda.” He’s the prosecutor. He said, “We’re on Joseph’s side. Joseph was found, at the end of October it was a “No true bill.”

Never has anyone breathed...I actually just cried and embraced the attorney.

You can’t go, “Oh, where will I be in five years from now? Where will I be next year?” You’ve got to stay in the present. So that’s how I do it. It’s just one day and I’m in this day. If I can be a light for somebody, if I can make someone smile who is sad, If I can let the love of Jesus Christ in me shine to others, that’s a good day.

Wanda - My son and husband's gunfight did not end well.

More Stories view all 488