Mother speaks for first time since her daughter survived attempted murder-suicide

For the first time since an attempted murder-suicide, a mother shares her daughter's survival story. It happened in August at a Morrow apartment complex. The shooter was once in a relationship with 24-year-old Jalen Morris. They shared a child.

Jalen managed to protect the baby as her ex shot her three times, then turned the gun on himself.

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Jalen Morris (Photo submitted by family)

It's been about six weeks since the violence that forever changed Jalen's life. She's now paralyzed from the waist down and in physical therapy at the Shepherd Center. Her mother says she was just getting the hang of motherhood when her child's father snapped.

Being a new mother is challenging enough.

Trying to co-parent can further complicate things.

"My daughter was involved in an abusive relationship," Jennifer Morris said. "She confided in us the things said to her. She recorded when he was screaming at her and was considering a restraining order. Things along those lines."

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Jalen Morris (Photo submitted by family)

Besides those signs, the family says Jalen's ex-boyfriend pushed her once. Her father stepped in to set some boundaries.

The violence escalated a final time one August morning when she went to let their newborn spend time with his father.

"My husband said that's not a good idea, let him come here, meet somewhere else," Jennifer said. "She wanted to let the baby see him. They had distanced themselves. He sent her a text saying 'let's end things amicably for sake of baby.'"

At a Morrow apartment complex, Jalen's ex-boyfriend shot her three times from close range: Twice in the face, and once in the back.

"Then she watched him shoot himself. Somehow, she army-crawled out the front door screaming for help," Jennifer said.

The baby was unharmed – shielded by his mother.

(Photo submitted by Jalen Morris' family)

Neighbors heard Jalen's screams. She was conscious enough to give her mother's number as they called authorities.

"How I found out was a FaceTime where I didn't recognize my daughter, and [a] text from [an] unknown number," she said.

Doctors say it's unlikely Jalen will ever walk again. Her family takes care of her son and is adjusting to accommodate her wheelchair as she recovers.

Known for her quiet demeanor but big heart, Jalen's family worries the 24-year-old will be more guarded than ever now that she's survived an attempted murder-suicide.

"It's hard because he did take his own life. I wish I could say I'm happy about that. I'm happy she'll never have to deal with him again," Jennifer said. "But in the same breath, there's no consequence. The only person dealing with the consequences is our daughter."

Jalen could come home as soon as November. Her mother says she's speaking out about domestic violence on Jalen's behalf because she can't tell her own story yet. They hope others who find themselves in similar situations are able to get out before it's too late.

A GoFundMe campaign has been created to help the family with medical expenses and wheelchair-accessibility renovations.

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