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CBN.com The date was September 16th, 2003.
“There were seven police officers and myself. Twenty-seven shots. Twenty-seven bullets. I thought I was gonna die.”
Tommy McGouey wasn’t the only person thinking about death that day. The police had a difficult situation on their hands – a unique suicide attempt. Tommy was in the cross-hairs. His life was on the line.
“I had planned to have the police shoot me,” Tommy recalls. “I didn’t have a gun. I didn’t want to take drugs and overdose. I didn’t have the resources to do that anyway.”
What lead to Tommy’s suicide attempt? His problems started years earlier in New York.
“As the world may see it, I was a successful individual,” he says. “I climbed the corporate ladder. I had all the bells and whistles that the world would consider as being successful.”
Tommy was on top, a bigwig in Corporate America.
“But I still had a gaping hole in me that I couldn’t fill with alcohol, drugs, relationships, toys, or gadgets. I always carried that from my youth.”
Tommy knew that alcohol wasn’t the answer, but he drank anyway.
He says, “It led me to a depression that I never had felt before, and I came to a dark area in my life where I thought I was just better off dead.”
Tommy’s wife talked him into going to rehab.
“I was doing it more so for her benefit, not my own. I wasn’t seeking the right answers at the right time.”
Rehab didn’t work. His alcoholism and depression only got worse.
“I just kept falling deeper and deeper and deeper and pulling other people with me unfortunately,” he says.
Tommy wanted to die, and his solution was what he called a “perfect suicide”. He wanted to leave this world in a blaze of glory. It was a plan that he thought was foolproof.
“I had read once about police-assisted suicide, and that’s what I had planned. I had planned this out thoroughly, almost like a military operation: where it was going to take place, what was going to take place, what was in the foreground. I didn’t want anyone else hurt.”
So Tommy carefully made his plan, and then it was time to carry it out.
“I had called the police and said there was a man running around the apartment complex and shooting off a gun,” Tommy explains. “Behind me, there was a hill that would go up. It was kind of like being in a bowl. If there were any shots that missed -- and I didn’t think there would be -- they would hit the dirt and wouldn’t hit anybody else.”
The police were on their way, looking for a crazy man waving a gun. Tommy stood in silence, waiting. Yet while he waited…
“… I took that time to pray and to ask God for forgiveness, because I knew what I was doing was not what He would want me to do. But again, the pain seemed too much.”
He continues, “I had an unloaded BB gun. They were telling me to raise my hands and drop whatever I had behind my back. I proceeded to walk towards them. After walking about 10 feet, I pulled out the gun, and there was nothing but loud noises -- pop, pop, pop, pop -- coming from all different directions.”
There were 27 shots fired at Tommy. But only one bullet hit its mark, Tommy’s right shoulder.
He was taken to the hospital and later arrested for felony aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
“The next morning, the police came and notified me that they had a facility for me, and that happened to be the jail.”
When Tommy was in jail, something amazing happened. As time was healing Tommy’s shoulder, God was healing his heart.
“When you’re locked down in an 8 by 10, you don’t have that many resources for reading material, and I started reading the Bible.”
But the truth that he found in the Bible is the truth that changed his life.
“I knew that after I heard that 27 bullets were shot at me and that I was still alive, God had touched me. I actually felt that,” he says.
Tommy committed his life to the Lord while he was in jail.
“I started reading His Word, day to day, night to night, from front cover to back cover, over and over again,” he says. “When I was in that 8 by 10 cell, I was a free man for the first time in my life. The Lord gave me that freedom. If you can be a free man behind bars, it’s just a pleasure to do His work when you’re outside.”
While in jail, Tommy applied for a position at a halfway house in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“When I was released from jail, I came to the Peace at Last Ministry, and when I walked through the front door, God whispered in my ear that I would have something to do with this ministry.”
John Wampler knew that Tommy would be a great candidate for the six-month program.
John says, “The Lord came into Tommy. This was a comfort that Tommy had been searching for.”
Tommy adds, “He’s brought a sense of peace and love and joy in my life that I haven’t felt in the past 53 years.
“When you’re in that dark spot, you’re willing to go anywhere. When you run out of places to go, go to your knees, and the Lord is there to lift you up.”
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