Crime & Courts

Soldier improving in hospital after home-invasion shooting

Semantha Bunce and her husband, Paul Bunce III
Semantha Bunce and her husband, Paul Bunce III GoFundMe

A 21-year-old Army National Guard member who was shot by intruders in her northeast Charlotte home last week continues to improve at Carolinas Medical Center.

“She’s doing a little better,” Semantha Bunce’s husband, Paul Bunce III, told the Observer in a brief phone interview on Saturday.

Semantha Bunce was feeding the couple’s baby just before 10 a.m. Tuesday when someone knocked on the front door, rang the door bell and then kicked in the door, her father-in-law, Paul Bunce Jr., told Observer news partner WBTV.

Semantha Bunce met the intruders at her bedroom door, and when the men opened fire on her in the stairwell area, she fired back, her husband told WSOC-TV last week. “I think it was a shock to the intruders just as much as it was to her,” he told the station.

Paul Bunce III told WSOC-TV he believes his wife’s training as a combat medic allowed her to stay mentally focused and calm during what was a fight for her life.

The couple’s 4-month-old son was uninjured.

Paul Bunce III was at work as a maintenance technician at a Matthews apartment complex when he received a call about the shooting from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. He was told his wife had been shot multiple times and taken to CMC in critical condition, according to a YouCaring fund-raising site established by his employer, MAA. The company manages apartment complexes in the Carolinas and 13 other states.

Hollie Ritchie, Bunce’s friend and fellow soldier with the Raeford-based 105th Engineer Battalion, established a Go Fund Me site to help pay for Bunce’s utility bills, child care, travel expenses, home repairs, medical bills and missed wages.

As of Saturday, 746 people had contributed $26,860, far surpassing the site’s $15,000 goal.

Ritchie reported on the site Friday that her friend is doing much better physically. “Even got out of bed and took a couple of steps today,” Ritchie said. “She’s quite the fighter and incredibly inspirational.”

Bunce “expressed so much gratitude to everyone for their generosity and kindness,” Ritchie said of her friend after talking with her by phone on Friday. “Literally moved to tears.”

The Bunces’ home is on Matlea Court, off Plaza Road Extension. Several bullet holes are visible from the outside of the back of the home, reported WBTV, an Observer news partner. A bullet entered a next-door neighbor’s home but didn’t injure anyone there, the station reported.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have released few details of the shooting and no description of the intruders. No arrests had been made as of Saturday.

Police added extra patrols to the neighborhood after the shooting, CMPD Capt. Chuck Henson told WSOC-TV.

“This investigation is going full force ahead,” Henson told the station. “They’re working it very, very hard, and I’m very confident that we’ll have an arrest in it at some point.”

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak