November 25, 2014

Elyria
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34°F
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Priest blesses home of shooting victim

ELYRIA — On Tuesday evening, a priest splashed holy water on the doorstep of Lynn Knechtges’ home to wash away the evil of the shootings that threw the quiet street into chaos a week earlier.

Knechtges, 37 — formerly Lynn Nolan, who took back her maiden name when she was divorced Feb. 6 — was shot in an upstairs bedroom Feb. 19 by her ex-husband, James Nolan, 48, police said. On Tuesday, the priest prayed over the house at 616 Cambridge Ave., asking God to bless it and restore peace to Knechtges and her family.

“Lord, protect this house. Let your holy angels dwell herein,” the Rev. Charles Diedrick of St. Mary’s Church said.

Diedrick said Knechtges and her two teenage daughters volunteered every weekend at the church, preparing food for the homeless. Visiting the house was the least he could do, he said.

So at 6 p.m. Tuesday, dozens gathered for a neighborhood prayer service, paying respects and marveling at how Knechtges has recovered from at least 10 gunshot wounds.

“It’s clearly a miracle. All the bullet holes were right next to vital organs, but she’s still here with us,” said Knechtges’ sister, Kathleen Knechtges-Vogt, who drove from North Carolina to be with her sister.

Nolan shot his ex-wife in the face, chest and arms, Knechtges-Vogt said. Afterward, he walked outside the home and fired the gun to his own head, dying immediately in the driveway in front of his daughters.

Police said the girls ran inside and gave their mother aid until help arrived. Knechtges, an emergency room nurse at EMH Regional Medical Center, was treated there before being flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. She was released Sunday after extensive surgery, including reconstruction of her shattered jaw, Knechtges-Vogt said. She said her sister still can’t use her left arm, where she was struck by at least one bullet.

Neighbor Curt Stone said Knechtges also was shot through the face — the bullet went in one cheekbone and out the other — but he has been told she will probably make a full recovery.

“She had a guardian angel watching over her. That’s the only way she survived,” said Stone’s wife, Lana Stone.

Knechtges-Vogt said the violence visited on her sister is a clear example of how Ohio’s laws need to change to protect the victims of domestic violence.

Her sister had been abused by Nolan in the past, she said, but very little was done to safeguard her from him. Knechtges-Vogt said it’s possible that the family will take Knechtges’ case to Columbus and ask lawmakers to do more.

The Lynn Nolan (Knechtges) Benevolent Fund has been opened at FirstMerit Bank, and donations may be made to help the family at any branch. Corporate checks will be accepted as long as they are made out to the fund.

Contact Jason Hawk at 329-7148      or jhawk@chroniclet.com.