Last updated: July 06. 2014 7:15PM - 5641 Views
By - gsowinski@civitasmedia.com



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LIMA — Jean Drexler is not easily rattled but when a bullet comes flying through the wall of her 9-year-old granddaughter’s bedroom wall it infuriates her.


“He went there to do a dirty deed and didn’t give a freaking care who was in the other home,” she said.


The shooting happened June 17 at 844 Oak St., with which her home shares a common wall. The shooter fired bullets at two people seeking cover in a closet hitting one in the hip and killing the other with a round to the chest.


Drexler heard the gunshots and immediately knew what it was. She rushed her granddaughter, who she has guardianship over, to the other side of the house and called police.


I heard pop, pop, pop, pop. Four pops. Fast pops,” she said. “I knew it was next door.”


She told police to get there fast. Officers arrived in minutes.


“When police got here I knew I was safe. The cavalry was here,” she said.


Police arrested and charged 20-year-old Valdis Stapleton Jr. in the shooting death of Carlton Martin, 24, and the wounding of Eric Irons.


The 57-year-old Drexler saw Irons taken away by ambulance.


She didn’t see Stapleton that night but knows him from when he was a preteen. He lived in a nearby apartment more than 10 years ago, she said.


The next day her granddaughter discovered a bullet hole in her bedroom wall.


The bedroom for Drexler’s young granddaughter is on the other side of the closet. The bullet not only passed through the wall but through the headboard at such an angle it easily could have struck her granddaughter in the head had she been in bed, Drexler said.


She found the bullet in her granddaughter’s closet. It struck a wall and fell to the floor. She called police. Officers arrived to collect it.


After the shooting, Drexler called her daughter to try to calm down.


“When I was on that phone, I was shaking so hard,” she said. “I was just so terrorized.”


The shooting marked the second time in her life she lived near someone who was killed by gunfire. In 1996, a neighbor couple apartments away was shot and killed in his apartment, she said.


Drexler said she is infuriated whoever fired the rounds could do so to try to kill people and without consideration for anyone in the home on the other side of the wall. She said her granddaughter easily could have been killed.


“It really pissed me off someone would do that. Some careless [expletive] would do that. He really didn’t care where the four bullets landed,” Drexler said.


Drexler has no plans to move. She’s not one to run away but she has taken steps to make her home more secure. She said the shooting has made her more vigilant, maybe even a little paranoid.


She said her neighborhood is normally quiet besides the sound of children playing outside. It upsets her someone was killed where she lives.


“That happened to my neighbors in my hood,” she said. “The worst thing I thought could possible happen is a fire over there that would come over here.”


Drexler said she plans on attending every court hearing for Stapleton so he sees the anger in her face.


She is sure Stapleton remembers her from his childhood but knows she wasn’t the target. Still, she wants him to know the terror she felt.


She’s reserving comment on his guilt, leaving that to a jury but if he’s found guilty, she wants him to go to prison, she said.


If he is convicted, Drexler wants to ask him what he was thinking, she said.


“I would tell him you weren’t thinking and you didn’t care,” she said.


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