Las Vegas woman, shot and paralyzed, was a prisoner in her home

This article is Domestic Violence at its worse.  This hits hard to because Jessica Small we shot at the Olympia 2011.  Jessica was awesome to work with and was one of the first models we shot in Vegas ever.  We spent some time together while I was in Vegas and she became a friend. Below is several of the photos that we took.  Under those photos is the article written by Jackie Valley of the Las Vegas Sun.


  Las Vegas woman, shot and paralyzed, was a prisoner in her home

When Jessica Small saw the 9 mm handgun pointed in her direction, she feared she would be discovered dead in a messy home. So she started cleaning.

She was shot a short time later.

Metro Police say Small’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Roberto Ramirez, who had been following her around the house with a gun, shot her through the chin and called 911 to report an attempted suicide. “Help,” Small called out to responding officers. “I’m in a lot of pain.”

More than four months after the June 1 incident, the scar on Small’s chin is barely visible, but the effect of the bullet is undeniable. Small is paralyzed from the neck down. In mid-October, she shared her story from a bed at Spring Valley Hospital, covered in blankets with an oxygen tube attached to her nose.



L.E. Baskow

Jessica Small smiles as a caregiver arrives to assist her hair on Friday, October 17, 2014. She was shot and paralyzed from the neck down by her boyfriend in June and since hospitalized at Spring Valley Hospital, undergoing physical and occupational therapy.

Ramirez, meanwhile, spends his days in a Clark County Detention Center cell, charged with attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon. He told police he shot Small accidentally. Ramirez’s attorney did not return a call for comment.

“It started off not abusive,” said Small, 27. “He treated me well. He was helpful, supportive, there for me when I needed him.”

But the relationship disintegrated.

The pair met at a vulnerable time in Small’s life. A body builder who once placed 14th in a national competition, Small had lost her job as a respiratory therapist, fallen into depression and begun using methamphetamine. Ramirez, sweet and charming, made her happy.

Several months into their relationship, however, Small said she discovered Ramirez had been cheating on her with the mother of his child. Small said that’s when the abuse began. First it was verbal, then physical. Small said Ramirez blamed her for his other relationship failing.

The first time Ramirez tried to punch her, Small deflected his fist with her hand, she said. She wanted to believe he would go back to being the man he had been.

But the physical abuse escalated, she said. Small said Ramirez would screw doors and windows shut and hide the drill, take her car keys and threaten to hurt her if she called the police.

Small was afraid to leave. She said she felt like a prisoner in the two-story, three-bedroom house she bought three years earlier. Help was within reach twice — once when she summoned the courage to call police and later when her parents asked police to conduct a welfare check — but, like many victims, she didn’t follow through and request a protective order.

“He would profusely apologize,” she said. And she accepted.

On May 31, Ramirez accused Small of cheating and got a gun, Small said.

“He locked all the doors, screwed them shut, screwed the windows shut and terrorized me the rest of the day,” she said.

Small prepared to die. Hours later, police say, Ramirez pulled the trigger.

The bullet tore through Small’s chin, shattered her fourth vertebra and lodged in her fifth vertebra. Her body instantly felt like a lump of sand when the bullet hit. Small knew if she survived, she would be paralyzed.

It’s unclear how much motion or feeling Small will regain. Her parents are renovating their home to accommodate the needs of a quadriplegic.

Small has advice for anyone in a similar situation.

“Get out,” she said. “You always think it will get better, but it actually gets worse, and you could end up leaving in a body bag.”

Donate: Jessica Small hopes to further her treatment in suburban Denver at Craig Hospital, which specializes in rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries. But her parents’ ongoing battle with insurance companies hasn’t proven successful, so Small has started an online fundraising campaign. Visit