April Ross felt at home, safe and “in good hands” Wednesday in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.
She’d been fighting nearly a year and a half for the day to arrive.
“I got such a warm reception from security all the way through,” the assistant district attorney told Channel 2 Action News on her first day on the job, wheelchair-bound with a paralysis caused by her estranged husband, who shot her and then killed himself on April 25, 2014.
Ross will devote some of her time to appellate issues related to the Atlanta Public Schools cheating case, which she worked on before she was injured, Fulton DA Paul Howard’s office said. But her main assignment will be the trial unit for domestic violence cases, Howard said.
Ross, then known as McConnell, had filed for divorce two days earlier, on April 23, 2014, and Tranard McConnell had been served with papers. As Ross sat in a car with a co-worker, McConnell fired multiple shots, hitting his wife in the face, arm and back, damaging her spinal cord.
McConnell later killed himself, according to police. Ross survived, but was paralyzed from the chest down.
After countless surgeries and extensive rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center, Ross has fought her way back. Her office has been modified to meet her needs, Howard said in an emailed statement.
“April is truly a dynamic person,” Howard said.” She is a survivor who has courageously triumphed over tremendous odds. She is an inspiration both personally and professionally. Beyond that, April is a dedicated employee with an exemplary work ethic. We are fortunate to have her on our team.”
As for her new role working with domestic violence cases, Ross told Channel 2, “I think we can start to make a difference on the front end, before the event happens and change lives before they find themselves in a tragedy.”
Ross is a graduate of the Emory University School of Law and has worked in the Fulton DA’s office since 2012.