Girl, 6, struck by stray bullet in drive-thru released from hospital

The 6-year-old girl who was shot by a security guard on Monday has been released from the hospital.

Loved ones of Claire Tidwell say they absolutely can’t believe just two days ago little Claire was shot and being rushed to the hospital for lifesaving surgery, and now she’s walking, talking and able to sleeping in her own bed tonight.

"She will be released with a little walker,” Claire’s Aunt Jessica Montanez says. Montanez showed us pictures and videos of the 6-year-old girl learning to use that walker in the hospital. 

Claire was actually up and walking shortly after her three-hour surgery.

"She’s all smiles. Last night she told everyone 'OK I’m tired, get out of my room'.  She’s still Claire the sassy little girl,” laughs Montanez.

The first grader was shot around 4 p.m. Monday after police say 18-year-old Earnest Hudson stole a cell phone from a T-Mobile store on Airline Drive, and security guard Christopher Bradley opened fire on him.  A bullet traveled to the McDonald’s drive-thru, smashing through the back passenger door of Claire’s dad’s car, and striking the 6-year-old.

"She was shot in her thigh. It actually grazed her right one and ended up hitting her right behind her knee cap and got lodged in a major artery,” Montanez says. Not everyone survives being shot in a major artery.  "They removed the bullet from the artery.  There’s no nerve damage. She can actually walk but it’s with a limp.”

Claire’s aunt says her niece will need a lot of physical therapy.

"We have a GoFundMe page. Unfortunately there’s no insurance,” explains Montanez. She says the family will also likely have to pay for therapy for Claire’s brother who is special needs and was also in the car when that bullet came blasting through the door. She says he's really having a tough time re-living the incident over and over.

The security guard who shot the accused thief and the 6-year-old girl was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. Montanez describes that as “heartbreaking”. She says, "I’m praying for him. He did the wrong precaution. I think if he had better training he could have handled the situation better." 

Montanez also says seeing her niece now is like witnessing a walking miracle. "That’s God.  That’s all God,” she says with a smile.