MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – A mother who survived a February shooting that killed her 6-year-old son is speaking out for the first time.
Friends and family gathered to remember Carter Clemons on Thursday, which would have been his 7th birthday. They released balloons at his grave in Moraine.
Carter was killed February 1 in a Miami Township murder-suicide. According to police, Jovonie L. McClendon, Jr. shot Di’Eshia Patterson and her 6-year-old son before turning the gun on himself.
In her first interview, Di’Eshia Patterson told 2 NEWS that in the days following the shooting, doctors informed her family she was likely going to die, and if she lived, the left side of her body would be paralyzed.
After making a remarkable recovery, Patterson said she wants to make sure her son is never forgotten.
“Every day is a tough day, but today was just a little bit harder,” Patterson said.
Di’Eshia Patterson, who goes by Dee Dee, told 2 NEWS the pain of losing her son is far greater than any physical pain she felt after being shot in the head.
“Carter – he was amazing,” she said. “He was smart. He knew everything about dinosaurs. He was just a funny, just smart kid.”
Patterson told 2 NEWS she was in the hospital for 16 days and went through several weeks of therapy. She now faces very few physical struggles, she said.
Patterson said the last thing she remembers from February 1 is McClendon, her boyfriend, asking her to come into her son’s bedroom before she discovered he was holding a gun. Before that moment, she never noticed any signs he would try to kill her or her son, she added.
“I wish that day something different could have happened,” Patterson said. “I just wish that I could go back in time and do something different that day.”
Patterson admitted she sometimes wonders what the world would be like if she died, and her son had survived to see his 7th birthday. She said she has grown closer to her faith as she works to figure out why she lived and defied the odds.
“If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t be here at all the way that I am,” Patterson said. “I don’t look like anything happened to me, but what happened to me was probably the far worst thing that anybody in my family has ever went through.”
Family members told 2 NEWS they hope Carter and Dee Dee’s story encourages anyone in need of counseling to get help.
If you or someone you know may be in need of counseling or other mental health services, click here for Montgomery County resources or call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.