PughA woman, shot multiple times, beat the death sentence of her attacker, escaped from the trunk of a car Monday night and led police to a slain co-worker and the suspected gunman who shot them both, said Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner.
“She was left for dead,” Tanner said of the woman, adding that her “… will to live and tenacity to survive is not only what saved her life but made it possible to find the second victim and to arrest a suspect. If she wouldn’t have fought to live and get out of that trunk we could have had two deceased victims which we may not have found for some time based on the location of the vehicle.”
Tanner identified the murdered co-worker as Tim Williams, 36, of Waycross. He said Williams suffered a single gunshot wound.
He said the woman is Sandra Williams, 54, who lives on Thomas Street (no relation to the male victim). She was transported by helicopter to UF Health-Jacksonville with several gunshot wounds believed to be life-threatening, he said. Her condition was listed as critical but stable, he said.
The suspect arrested for the shootings at about 10:40 p.m. Monday is Leon Pugh, 41, 1404 Hazel St., Tanner said, a co-worker of the victims who was being given a lift after a work shift where they worked at a restaurant in the 2000 block of Plant Avenue.
Pugh is being charged with murder and aggravated assault, Tanner said.
The woman called Ware County 911 Monday at 10:22 p.m. and told the operator she had been shot and was locked inside a car’s trunk, Tanner said. She also said a male co-worker had been shot dead, his body in the same car.
The problem was, though, she did not know where the car was, Tanner said, and the authorities had no way of knowing where to look. Sandra Williams, who suffered several bullet wounds, told the dispatcher she wasn’t sure how long her phone’s charge would last, Tanner said.
She was then able to escape from the trunk and found her way out of the wooded area in which the car was hid, which was off of Darling Avenue (the 1800 block) near a canal, Tanner said.
The chief said the shooter obviously left her in the trunk expecting her to die, but she escaped thanks to her will to live.
The woman still couldn’t tell law enforcement the exact location of the car, but based on her description, city police, Ware County Sheriff’s Office personnel and Georgia State Patrol officers searched and found the car beside a canal in a heavily wooded area about 500 yards off the road, Tanner said. The male victim was found in the front passenger seat of the car, killed by a single gun shot.
Ware County Coroner Atha Lucas pronounced the male victim dead. The body will be sent to a state crime lab for a forensic examination, Tanner said.
Pugh accepted a ride home from the restaurant with his co-workers, Tanner said.
An online parole site records that Pugh has been on parole for burglary since 2005.