Nearly two decades after a mother was carjacked, shot in the head and taken on a high-speed chase with her baby in the car, she met the state trooper who saved them.
Deborah Marrs-Clay said that State Trooper Larry Schnall is her hero.
“I lost 9 pints of blood,” she said. “If he hadn’t gotten to me when he got to me, I would be dead for sure, without a doubt.”
It all started in February 1996. Clay was at a gas station when a carjacker put a gun to her head and took off with her and her 13-month-old daughter in the car.
“He said, 'Take the baby out of the car seat and hold her to the windshield,' assuming police would hold their fire,” Marrs-Clay said.
The young mother refused, and the police chase continued. The Georgia state trooper right behind them was Schnall.
“The high-speed pursuit, the suspect pointing the gun at me, he fired out the vehicle several times,” Schnall said.
“He was going over 100 mph on the wrong side of the road, and I told him, ‘Can we at least get on the right side of the road at least?’ And that is when he raised the gun to my head,” Marrs-Clay recalled.
The carjacker shot Clay, point blank. She was not expected to survive.
The chase ended after about 20 miles in metro Atlanta.
“Not a single person knew there was an infant in the car,” Schnall said.
That baby, whose name is Elizabeth, now attends Kennesaw State University. The 20-year-old sophomore called watching coverage from back the chase “surreal.”
The mother and daughter both said getting a chance to finally say thank you means so much.
“He’s our hero, our own personal hero,” Marrs-Clay said.