Kansas City woman shares story to educate on domestic violence, disability

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A traumatic experience changed a Northland woman’s life forever nearly four years ago.

Tyra Randle recalled, “I prayed to God and said, ‘please let me survive.'”

Just six weeks after Randle gave birth to her son, Karter, in January 2020, she said the baby’s father shot her eight times with a .45 caliber at close range.

Her 11-year-old daughter heard the gunshots and ran to her mother’s aid. Randle and her kids survived, but she was left paralyzed.

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Now a paraplegic, three of those bullets are still lodged in her body, including one near her spine. She spent three days in the ICU on a ventilator before spending months in an Overland Park rehabilitation center where she strengthened her upper body to be able to transfer herself in and out of a wheelchair.

“I decided to turn my pain into purpose. Like I tell people, there’s no testimony without a test,” she said.

Randle’s spent the last few years making a difference by becoming an advocate and philanthropist for domestic violence survivors and victims, as well as the disabled community.

She started her own organization called Diamond in the Rough, which sees her as a motivational speaker for different conferences, events, and podcasts. She does that in addition to working full-time at North Kansas City Hospital.

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“My ultimate hope is to change laws and have the law be more proactive instead of reactive when it comes to domestic violence victims,” she said.

What’s more, she works with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and serves as a mentor for the United Spinal Cord Association, which led her to D.C. earlier this year where she spoke with members of Congress about disability laws.

She said the biggest thing they discussed was making airlines accessible for all.

“As I’ve gotten to the wheelchair, I noticed how the world isn’t made for people who are disabled,” she said.

She’s also gearing up for Miss Wheelchair Missouri and is deciding whether to get either a law or nursing degree. The trauma of her past, though, still hangs with her, but she ultimately hopes good will come out of it.

“Bad things do happen to good people, but it’s ultimately up to you what you do with it,” she said.

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Randle said the man accused of shooting her, Lonnell James, 44, has yet to have his day in court. She said the trial kept getting pushed back for different reasons.

FOX 4 checked local court records and saw he has a jury trial scheduled to begin in January 2024.

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