Almost two months after surviving a daring heist at Pennywise Plaza in La Romaine, which claimed the lives of her two colleagues, security officer Peola Baptiste is praising God for saving her life.
Batiste spoke publicly for the first time yesterday on her birthday.
In a telephone interview, she said, “It’s a miracle, even the doctors told me it’s a miracle.”
Celebrating her 58th birthday with her children, other family members and friends at her Claxton Bay home, Baptiste was first thankful to God for protecting her on that fateful day on September 19.
“First of all, I want to thank God to be here today. Without Him, I would not be here. I wanna praise and thank Him very, very much to be here to celebrate this birthday today,” she said.
Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love she has been receiving since the ordeal, she said,
“I am so grateful for everybody who supported me, who pay my medical bills and what not. I have been receiving a lot of support. I want to say thanks to everybody out there who are praying still for me. I want to say thanks everybody who supported me and still supporting me, without them, I could not do anything.”
Baptiste was critically injured and required blood for life-saving surgery. She said some of her injuries included a shattered wrist and two broken fingers. While both of her hands are still in casts, she said she was doing well and has been walking with the assistance.
“I have to go to various outpatient clinics but I home recuperating, no pain, nothing like that,” she said. Baptiste was first discharged from the hospital on October 23 but days later, she had to be readmitted. She was again discharged on November 6 and since then she has been recuperating at her home. Baptiste’s daughters said their mother does not speak about her ordeal and asked that she not be questioned about the incident or her deceased colleagues.
“I try not to think about it at all. Things will go through your mind, but mentally I am stable. It don’t bother me at all,” said Baptiste when asked about how she was coping emotionally.
Baptiste’s colleagues, Allied Security officers Jeffrey Peters and Jerry Stewart, were killed during an ambush by five bandits armed with high-powered guns while leaving Pennywise Plaza in La Romain, after conducting a cash-in-transit operation at Pennywise Plaza. Peters died at the scene while Stewart died on his way to the hospital.
Baptiste and another officer, Allister Harris, 47, of Phoenix Protective Services, who was on duty at the compound, were injured. Police later killed four suspects who ran into a house in their bid to elude capture.
Meanwhile, soldier Ishmael Salaam has been charged with murder and other offences arising out of the incident.