When Valarie Grubb was shot early Friday morning delivering newspapers, she fell into a ditch and heard five other rounds as well. One thought went through her head.
“I thought, ‘You got me once, this is NOT how I’m going out. I am 34 years old and I am not dying today.’ I somehow got out of the ditch and made it to my driver’s side door to hide for cover,” said Grubb, who is in a Longview hospital.
Marshall Police charged Jose Manuel Galvan, 20, of Marshall with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was jailed on $500,000 bond. MPD detectives obtained a search warrant for Galvan’s residence and during the search located an AR15 rifle, spent shell casings and a large quantity of illegal THC products. Additional charges are expected, according to MPD.
Grubb said she saw a white flash when the first shot was fired. Galvan allegedly shot at her from the second story of a neighboring house as she was walking back to her car. The second shot went into her back, through her kidney and spleen and broke two ribs, Grubb said.
“I was by the ditch and mailbox. I was grabbing dirt and everything else, to get out, screaming in pain. I was praying somebody would come out and get me,” Grubb said from her hospital bed where she is recovering and doctors are hoping to avoid surgery. “I had to go a good five or six feet to my car. I heard the other four shots and told myself I had to keep going.”
Once to her car, the Bluetooth on her cell phone connected to her radio was causing her 911 calls to fail after a few words. The same thing happened when she called her husband, Sironald “Ronald” Tatum, who is also a newspaper carrier for a route in Kilgore.
Grubb, a Marshall News Messenger and Longview News-Journal delivery driver, started yelling for help in English and Spanish. She has worked for 11 years for EZ Mart in Longview and has managed two stores. She learned Spanish to assist others.
“Years of being in the community and working in the store, I picked it up. We have a large Hispanic community. I learned it on my own to help communicate with people,” Grubb said. “I was able to disable the Bluetooth. I would say ‘hey Google’ and it didn’t respond. Then I was able to call my husband and I texted him the address. The first time we talked, he thought I was joking!”
She also called 911. As she was huddled by her dashboard to avoid any other gunfire, she felt a tap on her back from a Marshall police officer.
“When he put his hand on my back I almost fainted because I didn’t know who it was,” she said. “He calmed me down. He told me I am with you and I was coherent. I tried to call more people for some reason and he wanted me to stay calm and off the phone.
“As soon as I heard the ambulance is here it was such a relief and I said, ‘Lord yes, thank you God, this is not the pain I want to be in right now.’ They took me to Marshall and then Longview to the hospital,” Grubb added.
She said because of the ribs and potentially damaging the colon, doctors are trying to avoid surgery.
“I’m healing ... they said I do not have any paralysis and that’s awesome. They’ve been doing cat scans on me, watching my colon, make sure that doesn’t get harmed,” she said. “Another reason for no surgery is to keep my blood pressure down, which has been up. I’m also on a lot of medications.”
Grubb is hoping to pull through and then could face up to four months of rehab. A GoFundMe page has been set up at https://gofund.me/d9c0a777
Grubb is a Tyler native and went to high school about 90 minutes away. She has been with Tatum 11 years and they have three step-children. When her mom was sick in 2010, she moved to Longview. Her mom passed away and she has lived in Longview since.
“Our youngest daughter is 18 and she isn’t taking it too well. She doesn’t understand why someone would do this to her mom,” said Tatum. “In the hospital, I asked why she was breathing so strange? And they said it was from her broken ribs, the bullet almost punctured a lung.”
Tatum said of the incident, “I was throwing papers in Kilgore and I thought she was joking when she called and said, ‘Baby I’ve been shot!’ I called the ambulance and paramedics. By the time I called the police, they called me back in less than 10 minutes and said we have your wife with the paramedics and we are getting her to the hospital. I am so glad they did everything for her so fast. By the time I went to get her car, they already had the guy in custody!”
Tatum said he is focusing on her healing and keeping the home and bills in check while she is gone. He also praised her work ethic.
“That’s all she does. She goes to her first job and works 10 hours, sleeps for an hour and goes to her second job. She does that six days a week,” said Tatum. “Valarie is the nicest person you will ever know. If she sees a stray animal near the road, she will get it away from the road and find a home for it. That’s the type of person she is. I appreciate all the blessings everyone has given us and how much they support her.”
Grubb said the same from her hospital bed.
“I saw the messages online and I’ve had loads of phone calls and text messages,” Grubb said. “It’s an awesome feeling. I need all the good feelings and vibes. I don’t understand why somebody would do that.”