Johnnie Lynn survived a gruesome robbery.
On the night of January 12, 2003, while closing up at Calhoun’s restaurant in Rivergate, two men burst into her restaurant demanding money. Johnnie Lynn was a manager but couldn’t open the safe. One of the men, beat her repeatedly over the head severing the ocular nerve of her eye and crushing the right side of her skull and face. He beat her so badly that the handle of the gun broke off.
“The world can be a scary place. Before, I didn’t think it could be so scary. You never think it’s going to happen to you.”
MORE SURVIVOR STORIES
Johnnie Lynn remembers everything. She says when she recalls the night, it feels like she’s watching a movie. The intense pain subsided and adrenaline kicked it. After so many blows to her head, she was sure she was going to die. During the attack, she recalls calling out her children’s names, saying the Lord’s Prayer and telling her attacker, “I forgive you.”
Johnnie Lynn was out of work for two and a half years to heal. She went through fifteen surgeries, physical therapy, psychology and psychiatry treatments.
Johnnie Lynn says that the effects of this crime still haunt her. The physical injuries are there. They are obvious. But she says the emotional damage has been the biggest obstacle. This crime changed her as a person. She experienced severe depression and has been diagnosed with PTSD. She once described herself as very social and outgoing. Since this incident, she has had to overcome a fear of leaving home. She is easily startled by loud noises, and large crowds cause her to get very uncomfortable. She has built barriers to protect herself and her family.
“I’m in this situation because of a choice that someone else made.”
She knows that she is more empathetic as a person but feels that she was robbed of her sense of security. Johnnie Lynn says that an offender going to jail doesn’t give you closure. Offenders can go on with their lives, but victims have to deal with the physical and mental scars for the rest of their lives.
Later Johnnie Lynn found out that the man who assaulted her was someone she worked with at the restaurant. Her offender is sentenced to 67 years in prison and is up for parole in 2054. The other man has never been found.