NEWNAN, Ga. — Five months after 28-year-old Nikayla Canada was shot inside a hotel room in Newnan she reached out to 11Alive to share her story in hopes of helping others who might be in a violent or bad relationship get out before it's too late.
"I’m sitting here because on May 11, I got shot five times by my fiancé," said Canada. "That was the scariest night of my life."
Canada is now in a wheelchair due to a spinal injury during the shooting. She was also shot in the face and still has one bullet in her hip.
The Coweta County Sheriff's Office said their deputies responded to the Americas Best Value Inn on Highway 29 in Newnan just after 12 a.m. on May 11. The initial call was for a woman screaming but once inside the room they found Canada on the ground bleeding from multiple gunshots. Her fiancé Timothy Washington was arrested.
Canada said her relationship with Washington was becoming more volatile and she was preparing to leave him in the days before the shooting.
"We got into it. We got into a little altercation," explained Canada.
As things escalated, she said the two left the room. A couple of hours later, Canada decided to return which would prove to be a life-changing decision.
"You know I'm thinking everything is chill," said Canada. But that wasn't the case. Canada returned to the room along with Washington a few minutes later, she said.
"I sat down. The next thing you know I heard sounds," she said. "It was just boom, boom. I turned around and saw him shooting at him, I literally saw the gun, the fire, everything."
Canada said she fell off the bed.
"I was crawling, I was army crawling through the room, screaming throwing stuff at the wall hoping someone would hear," said Canada.
Help showed up and rushed Canada to a nearby trauma center. Washington was no longer at the scene.
The sheriff's office said Washington ran down to the Red Carpet Inn, just down the street where he refused to come out of a room. After a brief standoff, he gave up and was arrested.
Washington remains in jail, facing several charges.
Canada spent several weeks on life-support and several more weeks in the hospital undergoing multiple major surgeries.
Canada now is forced to use a wheelchair.
"I tell myself that I'm temporarily in this chair," said Canada.
She wants anyone out there who feels they are trapped in a situation they can't get out to find the courage and leave before it's too late.
"How many women have died from men wanting to kill you because you don’t want to be with them anymore? Just walk away. Just go, bye, bye," explained Canada.
Canada's medical and rehabilitation bills are mounting up.
She said she's only a couple of weeks away from having nowhere to live due to her healthcare coverage ending. An online fundraiser was created so people can help Canada through this long road to recovery.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Research shows one in four people are at risk of family violence. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233 or contact Georgia Legal Services.