People Who Amazingly Survived A Gunshot To The Head

We all know the best way to take out a zombie is to put a bullet through its brain, but you may be surprised to learn that isn't always the case for the living. Getting shot in the head isn't always fatal, and sometimes, the survivors resume relatively normal lives. Such as the following:

Malala Yousafzai

After boarding a school bus the morning of October 9, 2012, Malala was confronted by a member of the Taliban who noticed that she was (a) a girl, and (b) attempting to get an education, so he did what members of the Taliban do: he shot her in the face. The bullet travelled along her skull and under her skin, until it settled in her shoulder blade. Malala lay unconscious in the hospital while the world became enraged over what happened to her, but she survived with little more than some scarring, and a drive to change the world.

Malala was never one to back down from a fight, and has since become one of the principal activists in the women's rights movement in Pakistan, and other nations where those rights are similarly diminished. She's even earned the honor of being the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Prize. She's been awarded other, similar prizes too, and has used her position as a victim advocate to fight for injustice all over the world. Not bad for a 15-year-old girl who stood up to a terrorist with a gun while demanding she have a right to an education.

Louis Johnson Jr., AKA King Louie

Like many rappers before him, like Tupac and Big E, Louis Johnson Jr. (AKA King Louie) was attacked in a drive-by shooting while cruising through his native city of Chicago on December 24, 2015. He was stopped at a light, when someone walked right up to his car and fired 22 times into the driver's side window.

Amazingly, despite being shot in the left side of his head from very close range, Louie was actually talking that very night. He even Tweeted to his fans the day after the shooting, with a picture of himself and a heartfelt "Merry Christmas." He wound up making a full recovery, and has not suffered from any sort of cognitive issues as a result of the shooting. Louie has gone on to speak out against the gun violence plaguing his town and even commented on his own shooting, saying, "I was hit seven times. Three of the slugs are still with me today – two in my chest, one in my head," but went on to say "I think there's hope for Chicago." He continues to be a prominent rapper in the Chicago music scene.

Natalya Perrin

Natalya Perrin was victimized by someone she didn't see coming, and not in the "stranger in a dark alley" sense: she was shot by her own husband.

Natalya was a mail-order bride from Russia, who came over to the United States and married respiratory therapist Richard Perrin. The couple lived happily together for two decades and had a daughter named Danika together, but things began to go sideways, finally ending with a tragic culmination in November 2014. Richard Perrin had been depressed, exhibiting signs of strange and controlling behavior, and had thrown away his medication. But he took the final step by shooting Natalya in the head, killing their seventeen-year-old daughter, and then committing suicide.

Perrin initially thought she was fine, even refusing assistance when the police called her home. She ended up alone in her house for thirty-six hours, until the police came from a tip given by Richard's workplace and discovered the scene. Her injuries had permanently blinded her, but she was airlifted to a Denver hospital, and was able to recover everything but her sight.

It's a horribly tragic story, but thankfully Natalya bounced back and adapted. Even with her sight gone, she can still tear up a dance floor thanks to her Zumba classes, which helped her find herself again.

Andrea Michalkova Scott

They say working late every once in awhile won't kill you, but those who say that never met Andrea Michalkova Scott, who nearly went to the afterlife because of a late night in 2010 researching chemistry at Jackson State University. As she was heading back to her car, three men stopped her and told her to give them money. She forked over five dollars, and one of them responded to this gift by pistol-whipping her, then shooting her twice in the head at close range and bailing.

Most people with two lead slugs in their head wouldn't feel shame or guilt in passing out, but Scott refused to go out like a punk. Not only did she stay awake through the pain, but when a JSU student named Lemarc Humphrey found her and called for help, she told him how to get in touch with her husband. She was stabilized quickly, and she made a full recovery, only left with headaches, a little numbness, and decreased physical ability as a result of her injuries. Despite the small caliber bullets and crappy shooting skills of the robber, Scott was lucky to survive, as the bullets damaged major blood vessels in her brain, which could have caused a stroke.

Scott was pretty blase about the whole thing after she got out of range of the scythe, even commenting that she looks younger now than she did before the shooting. While it may have worked like a dream for her, we wouldn't suggest anybody else try to save money on plastic surgery or health cures by taking a bullet to the face, because you may be dissatisfied with the results. Pay the good doctors, or just learn to age gracefully.

Marc Cohn

You probably don't know Marc Cohn off the top of your head, but you likely know his one and only major hit, 1991's "Walking in Memphis", a four minute love letter to the Bluff City that Memphis oughta be paying him royalties for, because it's a perfect soundtrack for their tourist adverts from now until the heat death of the universe.

Marc has still kept up his music career though, and it was on a tour with Suzanne Vega in 2005 that he nearly wound up on the yearly "In Memoriam" section of the Grammys. He and his band were leaving a gig at the Denver Botanical Gardens, when a wanted felon named Joseph Yachten ran up to their van and attempted to carjack them. Why would Yachten want to take a rocker's van? So he could escape the security coming for him from a nearby hotel after he had tried to use his credit card there, that's why. When the driver foiled his attempts, Yachten fired through the window, nailing Cohn in the right temple and injuring Cohn's manager with flying glass.

Mercifully, no one else was killed, and Marc rolled out of the hospital after a mere eight hours, with doctors proclaiming him the "luckiest unlucky guy" ever, which might also be the nicest way to describe a one-hit-wonder we've ever heard. Marc continues to tour, record and play as we speak, because you can't keep a Best New Artist Grammy winner down with something as mundane as a headshot.

Rachel Barezinsky

Have you ever thought to yourself that you might go out with some friends looking for ghosts and it might be a little scary, but otherwise completely safe? Rachel Barezinsky was thinking just that one late evening in August 2006. She and her friends were on the hunt for some ghosts around a spooky house, when they heard what they thought was a firecracker. They went around the block to check out the supposed merriment of their local neighborhood, and Rachel was shot in the head.

The bullet travelled directly through the center of her brain, and she was rushed to the hospital, where doctors believed she would not survive. However, she defied expectations and pulled through. As her amazed doctor put it, "Even if people survive it, they're usually in a chronic vegetative state." Barezinsky was not interested in such a fate. She does have some memory problems, but has otherwise gone on to live a completely normal life.

It turned out that Rachel was shot by Allen S. Davis who was trying to frighten off trespassers. He heard people talking outside his property, and thought the best way to deal with something as nefarious as that was to fire a rifle outside into the dark. He was wrong, and is now serving 19 years in prison, so the next time you're worried about something outside your home, maybe call the cops before you fire a rifle into the night.

Stedman Bailey

You have to be tough to be an NFL wide receiver, but even those guys don't tend to make it when they get a bullet in the head. Stedman Bailey, former wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams, got such a bullet not once, but twice! In 2015, Bailey was driving in Miami, when another vehicle drove by and fired into his car. There were two children in the car with him who were fortunately spared injury, but Bailey wasn't so lucky.

The footballer was rushed to the hospital — after six hours of surgery, he came out without any real problems. He was even Tweeting to his fans and signing his name shortly after surgery. Since the attack, he's been sidelined from playing in the NFL. While waiting for the doctors to clear him, he's been taking college classes, with the goal of finishing his degree to fulfill a promise he made to his mother.

When asked in an interview about his potential return to the NFL, he said, "The doctors and specialists who did the surgery on my head said that I need at least a full year to heal up before they can re-evaluate because contact wouldn't be too good." Traumatic brain injuries can be pretty severe for any football player, never mind one whose brain dealt with two rounds of lead, so it makes sense doctors would want him to avoid getting head-slammed to the ground too much for awhile.

Patrick Ireland

The Columbine massacre took 13 lives (not including the psychos who killed them), and 23 more were injured by gunfire. One of the injured was Patrick Ireland, who barely survived the deadly rampage. He was shot in his leg and took two shotgun blasts to the head, but that didn't stop his fight for survival. Patrick was left to die among the bodies of several of his classmates, but he spent three hours crawling to safety, while partially paralyzed. He was able to pull himself up to a window, and later became known as "the boy in the window," due to the photograph taken of him escaping.

When he was taken to surgery, doctors found that the left hemisphere of his brain was penetrated and his language center was severed. But Ireland didn't just survive, to look at him is to assume nothing happened. Doctors were able to repair the damage, and Ireland has gone on to live with no cognitive disabilities. He graduated high school as valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA, and went on to become the director at a financial services company, which is significantly better than most people who don't get shot twice in the head with a shotgun

Tammy Sexton

Police officers were somewhat amazed when they came to Tammy Sexton's home in Jackson County, Mississippi back in April 2009. The 47-year-old woman opened the door while holding a rag to her forehead, and she asked the officers, "What's going on?" like they had any idea. After all, they were there to serve her husband, Donald Ray Sexton, with a court order to stay away from his wife, for fear of continued domestic violence. Had the officers gotten there sooner, they might have saved Mr. Sexton from killing himself, which he had done. So why was she hurting? That would be because he committed suicide right after he put a .380 caliber bullet through his wife's forehead!

Luckily for Mrs. Sexton, the bullet travelled through her forehead and between the major lobes of her brain, before exiting via the back of her head. Such a wound would kill, oh, any other person on the planet, but Mrs. Sexton seemed to be only a little bit confused once the officers arrived. She even made them tea, before they convinced her to drop the sugar cubes and seek medical attention.

She remained in the hospital for three days and was then released, having shown no signs of cognitive detriments. You know you're not to be messed with when you not only take a bullet to the brain, but have the courtesy to offer beverages to the officers who come to your rescue.

Jory Aebly

In 2009, Jory Aebly and his friend were the victims of a robbery. They were forced to their knees and shot execution-style, point-blank to their heads. His friend died, and Aebly was near-death.

He was not expected to survive, as the bullet crossed through both hemispheres of his brain and left fragments lodged in his skull. It's the very definition of a "nonsurvivable" gunshot wound, and yet Aebly survived.

Aebly was forced to relearn to see, speak, read, and even think, but the Cleveland native was able to pull it off. Before he was able to speak again, he awoke and began tapping out S-O-S in Morse Code to let his mom know he needed help. That was the first sign that his cognitive abilities weren't completely compromised. Within 23 months of the shooting, Aebly was back at work and living on his own.

Aebly's story was closely watched by the Vatican with the hopes of confirming the miracle of his survival and attributing it to the late Pope John Paul II. This was all in an attempt to confirm the late Pontiff's beatification so that he could become a Saint, as the Pope had prayed for him at the request of the hospital chaplain. Ultimately, the Vatican settled on some other miracles in France and Costa Rica, but it's nice to know they were keeping an eye on him.

Darnell Mundy

When a child gets shot in the head, the story rarely has a happy ending, but that isn't true for Darnell Mundy. When he was just three years old, Mundy was looking for an iPad, and somehow found one of his parent's guns instead. He subsequently shot himself in the head, and was rushed to the hospital. Like most in his situation, he wasn't expected to survive, but the doctors were able to remove a portion of his skull to alleviate swelling, and he recovered.

In fact, it appears his young age, and his undeveloped toddler brain, was a huge reason why he survived. As one of the neurosurgeons who worked on Mundy explained, "Because he's so young, his brain has the ability to rewire (and) use other parts of his brain to take over the parts that are damaged." Mundy left the hospital after three weeks and underwent physical and occupational speech therapy. He has since made a complete recovery.

Jaydan Stancil

Jayden Stancil was only nine years old when he was walking home from a playground, and got struck in the head with a bullet, caught in the crossfire between two men who were shooting at one another. Stancil spent the next three months in the hospital having surgery after surgery and being seen by just about any specialist who might have been able to help him. He wasn't expected to recover, but that's exactly what he did.

Stancil had to learn how to walk all over again, and was still in the process of recovering in late-2016. He required a wheelchair while he was recovering, but the basketball fan was still able to best a hospital spokesman in a game of H-O-R-S-E. When asked about the wheelchair, he said, "I'm going to throw it when I get out, smash it." It will take some time, but Stancil is expected to recover. That wheelchair's days are numbered.

Ian Stewart

Most people hear about wars being fought and run like hell away from them, but some, though they don't fight, do something arguably just as important: tell the rest of the world about what they see there. In 1999, Canadian journalist Ian Stewart was doing just that on the ground in Sierra Leone, reporting on the civil war as the Associated Press's war correspondent. The war was already in its eighth year, and it still had three more to go, so tensions were pretty high.

One day, Stewart was traveling through Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which was surrounded by the rebels, when his car was stopped at a rebel checkpoint. Apparently, one of the child soldiers on guard there wasn't having a good day, because he felt the need to use his AK, unloading it into the car. Despite his cameraman being killed, Stewart managed to outlast the fire and survive ... with a bullet in the middle of his head. Adding to this problem was how he was in Sierra freaking Leone, which is not exactly renowned for its speedy emergency response, or its health care.

Stewart wound up having to endure for a day and a half before he could be flown back to London and into an operating room, but he escaped with his life, though his left hand and arm were paralyzed. He'd later go on to write a book on the experience, and studied modern slavery (like the kind that produced his attacker) for a doctorate at the University of Michigan.

Jacob Miller

When we think back to the American Civil War, we picture horrible and bloody battlefields, with men barely surviving injuries to their limbs. Often, doctors would have to remove arms and legs on the battlefield to try and stave off gangrene and other potential ailments, which could turn a wound into a death sentence. And when a soldier took a .58 caliber musket ball in the abdomen, their chance for survival was basically zero.

That's why the story of Private Jacob Miller's wound is of particular interest. He wasn't shot in the foot, or the chest, but in the ... you probably know where this is going. Yep, at the Battle of Brock Field at Chickamauga, Private Miller was shot right between the eyes and left for dead. When he became conscious again, he righted himself using his musket for a cane, and made his way back to a safe position. You know, like anyone would do in that sort of situation.

Miller actually survived and healed ... sort of. Poor guy spent the next 31 years with a giant hole in his forehead that occasionally oozed out bits of lead. As the old soldier disgustingly described it, "Seventeen years after I was wounded, a buck shot dropped out of my wound and thirty one years after, two pieces of lead came out." Other than the obvious physical evidence of his injury, Miller suffered from headaches, which shouldn't surprise anyone, but otherwise had no ill effects from the wound. He lived out his life, and even appreciated the $40 annual pension ($561 in 2016, which was still a ton of money back then) the government gave him for the remainder of his days.