Man who lost his sight in 2017 shooting reflects on how he learned to accept his blindness and sympathize with his attacker

<p><p>Michael Troy still does not remember the day nearly four years ago when two bullets struck his head and rendered him permanently sightless. What he does know is he could not have moved on without the help of his community. </p></p><p><p>“What has really surprised me with all of this is the incredible response from the government and the culture and society in Spokane of all places,” said Troy, 67. “I received help and support from all over this part of the United States. And I don’t really know why, because I’m really no one of any exception, you know, I’m just an apartment house manager and a blackjack dealer … I was born a survivor, that’s true, but I think we are all born survivors.”</p></p><p><p>But he almost did not survive the gunfire that took his sight and killed his 59-year-old friend on Dec. 19, 2017.</p></p><p><p>His memory of the night never came back, but in the affidavit filed for the case, witnesses said they heard three gunshots and then found Troy bleeding on the stairway at 2015 W 10th Ave., the Westview Manor apartment complex on the lower South Hill.</p></p><p><p>Witnesses had noticed a woman roaming the complex and asking to speak with the apartment manager. Troy was asked to step out to talk to her, and that’s when he was shot.</p></p><p><p>More gunshots followed, witnesses told investigators. When police arrived, they found Troy severely injured and the apartment manager Danette Kane, 59, deceased on the stairs, according to the affidavit. </p></p><p><p>One bullet went through his neck, barely missing an artery. Another grazed his skull and severed the nerves in his eyes; Troy was instantly and permanently blinded. Part of his skull and brain had to be removed.</p></p><p><p>Police a few days later located and arrested Anne M. Carpenter on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and assault.</p></p><p><p>Carpenter at the time of the shooting had been employed at The Spokesman-Review’s production facility. She had been arrested once before on suspicion of first-degree trespassing, a charge later dismissed, according to court documents. She had no prior felony convictions.</p></p><p><p>A mental health clinician who evaluated Carpenter at Eastern State Hospital diagnosed her with schizophrenia, according to a report from the state’s Department of Social and Health Services.</p></p><p><p>Carpenter, now 27, pleaded guilty on Oct. 29, 2021 to first-degree murder and second-degree assault. She faces sentencing Friday, during which Troy will give a statement.</p></p><p><p>At the hospital, Troy was put into a medically induced coma because of the severity of his injuries. He woke up weeks later in “total darkness,” he said.</p></p><p><p>“I’d say that first week or two were pretty tough. It’s pretty tough when you get a head injury like that,” Troy said. “That’s why I don’t want to get into an angry rant and rave in the corners, that sure will do no good, but I shouldn’t be this coherent and this mobile. The state, I think, said, well, he’s got brain damage, let’s write him off.”</p></p><p><p>Troy entered <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/feb/16/south-hill-shooting-victim-now-blind-focused-on-th” target=”_blank”>Royal Park Rehabilitation Center in north Spokane</a>, where he adjusted to the emotional and physical challenges caused by his blindness and brain damage.</p></p><p><p>He said even four years later, he still has trouble comprehending that he will never see again. But that acceptance is a key part of healing.</p></p><p><p>“You’re not terrified, because you kind of overcome trying to comprehend and deal with a disability. You’re trying to find things that work and put in order things, placement of thoughts and feelings. You don’t want to roll. I didn’t want to, and there were times I did. I think it’s gotten a lot mellower in the last couple of years, but there were times.”</p></p><p><p>As far as forgiveness, Troy said he wasn’t sure if he forgave his attacker, but that he understood how much much mental illness plays a role in someone’s ability to make good decisions.</p></p><p><p>“In my particular case, the best thing that I can do is find a way to make peace,” Troy said. “You kind of have to open yourself up to the idea of humanism. People sometimes make mistakes that are a consequence of illness, or a consequences of an activity that’s not always good. That’s sort of what happened that day. That person that shot me, I suspect that her life was very upsetting for many reasons … And, you know, that happens.”</p></p>