ANN ARBOR, Mich. – A Metro Detroit woman who left to chase her dreams on the West Coast was injured during the shooting at a pool party in San Diego.
Investigators said Charnee James, 24, and six other shooting victims were targeted by "a very angry man with a gun." The 49-year-old man shot three men and four women, killing one of the women.
Witnesses said the man was sitting near the victims' pool party when he opened fire. One woman was killed, and James was shot in both of her calves. She had to have surgery and a blood transfusion.
"(Doctors) had to reroute her vein to keep blood circulation," said Emmuel Gullatt, James' grandfather.
James also had to have a blood transfusion.
"She lost a lot of blood," said Deborah Gullatt, James' grandmother.
James lived in Ypsilanti and graduated from Michigan State University in 2014 before moving to San Diego. She worked at Quicken Loans and moved to the West Coast two weeks ago because she wanted to go into fashion.
She was supposed to start her new job Tuesday, but now, she and her family members are living a nightmare.
"She called today and said make sure you let my job know I won't be there," Emmuel Gullatt said.
The Gullatts describe their granddaughter as a go-getter. She also had part-time jobs at Von Maur and Forever 21.
"I'm proud of Charnee because she's a very nice, sophisticated young lady," Deborah Gullatt said.
Deborah and Emmuel Gullatt are extremely close to their granddaughter.
"I'm just devastated," Deborah Gullatt said. "I just can't get over that. That was my first granddaughter. My daughter worked a lot, so she was always with us, and she's always been with us."
They were on the phone with James an hour before the shooting, talking about her move.
"We were getting the logistics of her moving there, her car, license, all that stuff, and I said, 'You're at a party, call me tomorrow and we'll figure this out,'" Emmuel Gullatt said.
But then they got the call about the shooting.
"She said, 'Don't be alarmed or upset, but we're at a party and Charnee got shot,' and we just lost it," Deborah Gullatt said. "Then she started telling me how it happened."
James' cousin, Haley, was with her at the party and ran over to help after the shots were fired.
"My niece went back to get Charnee because she didn't see her, and said, 'Charnee, please get up,'" Deborah Gullatt said. "Charnee said, 'I can't walk.' She said, 'Charnee you have to get up because he's reloading.' She put her on her back and carried her out. I mean, she saved her life."
Twelve hours passed before James' grandparents could speak with first responders about her condition.
"They wouldn't give us any information, and I called the police department and they said it was an active murder investigation, so they couldn't give out any information," Emmuel Gullatt said.
Their granddaughter is struggling to cope with what happened.
"My granddaughter keeps saying, 'We weren't doing anything,'" Deborah Gullatt said. "No, you weren't. It was not your fault."
The family feels fortunate James survived, but they're tired of the gun violence and want to know why the man opened fire.
"I forgive him for what he did," Emmuel Gullatt said. "I'm not a vengeful person. I'll never forget it. My granddaughter will never forget it. There are parents out there that lost a daughter, so I would ask him why. Why did he do this?"
James' mother was in Jamaica at the time of the shooting and had to change her plans so she could be by her daughter's side after the incident.