Last month, a disagreement on a residential street in Muskegon, Mich., turned into a deadly gun battle. Six men were armed, one man was killed, and dozens of shots sprayed in all directions.
At the house directly behind the gunfight, three children were playing on the porch.
This scenario is not as rare in America as we’d like to think. But what happened next is: As the bullets zipped past the children, one woman ran into the line of fire to try to save them.
‘Basically A War Zone’
It wasn’t quite yet dinnertime.
Brooke Ridge, 10, was walking her dog Scruffy up to the front porch of a gray house on Monroe Avenue in this Western Michigan city. Her friends, Cameron and Caiden, were there. Her brother was inside.
Behind her in the street, a group of men were fighting. The fight escalated.
“They started off as punching and screaming,” says Brooke. “Then it ended up as a gun battle.”
Brooke’s parents, Jim and Shannon Ridge, were in their second-floor apartment around the corner when they first heard the shots. Before they could even get down the steps of their apartment, dozens of shots had been fired.
“It was basically a war zone, you know,” says Jim Ridge. “That’s how many rounds went off.”
Carmesha Rogers, 27, was on a balcony directly above the kids when the guns came out.
These were not her kids; some, she didn’t even know. But she saw that they were in the line of fire and yelled at them. They didn’t move, so she ran down the stairs and pushed the kids inside.
She got them in the house. They were safe. She was not. A bullet hit her in the head.
‘She’s Our Hero’
Heather Tanner came out of her room to look for her sons, Cameron and Caiden.
“And then that’s when I saw Meesha, laying there. And then I just started screaming because I didn’t know what else to do,” says Tanner. “I was shocked. I thought she was dead. “
Rogers’ sister performed CPR. Paramedics arrived and rushed Rogers to the hospital.
I first met Carmesha Rogers as she recovered in her room at Hackley Hospital in Muskegon. She was surrounded by humming medical equipment and cellophane balloons.
When she first arrived at the hospital, her family had been told she might never walk, or talk again
But three weeks later, she was doing both. And her memory of that day was starting to come back: The fight. The guns. The kids on the porch.
“I didn’t have a thought. Just get the kids out the way. ‘Cause I’d want someone to do that for my kids,” says Rogers.
Says Heather Tanner: “She’s our hero. She saved our children.”