ROSSVILLE — From the front porch, Elena Marie Cox told her husband to follow her.
"You need to come in," she said.
But Quentin Alonzo Cox, 24, said no. He was in the front yard at 656 S. Washington St., working on his GMC Sierra 2500 and waiting for Lee Everrette Strawter to return. Strawter and Quentin Cox had been neighbors for years, and until now -- 3:45 p.m. on Nov. 5 -- they never had any problems.
But Strawter, 42, supposedly had sex with Quentin's ex-girlfriend, and he stopped by to flaunt it, and the two began to argue, Quentin said Monday from his bed at Erlanger hospital.
"Wait here," Strawter allegedly told Quentin. "I got something for you."
And so Quentin waited, staying in the yard while Elena Cox, 28, retreated from the front porch. She walked inside and grabbed the door handle.
She pushed the door shut. It was still quiet. Her 7- and 8-year-old daughters were in the living room, her older girl peering through the window.
Elena started to release the doorknob, and she heard gunshots.
Outside, Quentin later told authorities, Strawter walked over from his house with a .357 -caliber Magnum. He muttered something like, "How 'bout this?," pointed the gun and snapped the trigger.
A bullet pierced the lower left side of Quentin's stomach, grazing his kidney and damaging part of his colon. He began to run back inside.
"Mom!" Elena's daughter yelled from the living room. "He's shot!"
As Quentin retreated, Strawter allegedly kept firing. A bullet ripped through Quentin's back, and another one hit the inside of his right forearm, tearing through tissue and shattering a bone. Another bullet hit the house, Elena said, about 4 inches from the bedroom window.
When Quentin got inside, Strawter ran to his own house. His father, Oscar Strawter, later told Walker County Sheriff's Office investigators that Strawter tossed the gun on the couch, took the keys to Oscar's truck and drove away.
Quentin, meanwhile, ran back outside and climbed into the bed of his own truck.
"You can't lay here!" Elena yelled at her husband.
She grabbed Quentin's feet, dragged him out of the truck, picked him up and carried him to the passenger's seat.
Then, she drove him to Hutcheson Medical Center, where paramedics transferred him to Erlanger and surgeons operated on him for about seven hours.
Meanwhile, according to an arrest report, Strawter turned himself in that night on four charges of aggravated assault. He remained in the Walker County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond Monday. Nobody answered the door when a reporter showed up at his house.
Quentin Cox is in stable condition at Erlanger, with a cast around his right arm and tubes running from his kidney, pancreas and chest. He still can't eat or drink.
Elena stood next to him, helping Quentin recount the events before and after the shooting. Two months ago, they didn't know each other. But they met on pof.com (Plenty of Fish), an online dating site.
A couple of weeks later, they married.
"He told me God brought me into his life to straighten him up," Elena Cox said while walking through the hospital. "And this is where we end up, so ...
"We're hoping this turns out for the best."
Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or firstname.lastname@example.org.