ATLANTIC CITY - Samantha Lynn Frazier wanted to lose weight. But the extra pounds do not bother her now.
"My love handles saved my life," she said Monday, two days after she was shot inside an Atlantic City bar.
The Florida woman's family had treated her to a trip to Atlantic City. But the gift to come visit her relatives and stay at a casino was ruined shortly after it began.
Frazier, 35, a former Egg Harbor Township resident, and her cousin Kimberly Moore, who still lives in the township, had just come from the Tropicana Casino Resort at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday when they decided to get a couple of drinks before going to a room at the casino.
Herman's Place on New York Avenue would be able to serve them, the women were told by someone they met along the way.
But as they walked toward the bar from the Boardwalk, Frazier heard a pop, then another. She tried to duck inside the bar with Moore.
That's when the pain hit.
"Something bit me," she said, putting a hand to her left side. "I moved my hand, and it was full of blood."
"I've been shot," Frazier said just before passing out.
She woke up in the Regional Trauma Unit at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City.
There, Frazier told the doctors to tend to Moore, who was so upset that Frazier was more worried for her.
Moore's mother, Kim Johnson, was there, too. She said she beat the ambulance to the hospital after receiving a hysterical call from her daughter.
When she called her mother, Moore was sobbing so heavily that Johnson could not understand her. She realized Frazier had been shot but did not know where it had happened. Johnson rushed to a relative's home in Atlantic City.
"There were no police or anything," Johnson said.
Another phone call from Moore - now in the ambulance with her cousin - led Johnson to the hospital.
"She still beat the ambulance," Frazier laughed.
Now, the day-care center worker is recovering at Johnson's home in Egg Harbor Township from the painful injury. She had a follow-up doctor's appointment Friday with the emergency room doctor who treated her.
"I come out on vacation to the world's largest playground, and I get shot," Frazier said. "I'm just an innocent bystander."
Atlantic City Detective Lt. Charles Love confirmed Frazier was not the intended target. The unidentified man the shooter was aiming for escaped with a bullet hole in his down jacket.
The shooter is described as a 5-foot-5-inch male weighing about 200 pounds.
Frazier said she is trying to keep moving around so she does not get stiff or depressed. Her family is helping, including her young cousins, who she said tend to her, trying to help her get up or down.
"No one in our family has ever been shot before," Johnson said. "No one's ever been to jail or anything. None of us."
Frazier's vacation may have been ruined, but she's got something to celebrate.
"I'm going to be 36 in July," she said. "Thank God, I'm going to be 36. I could have been dead. They said my love handles saved my life."
"I'd been hollering how I want to lose weight," she added. "I don't want to lose weight anymore. I want to be as big as I can if it's going to stop a bullet."
Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or knows who the shooter is should call the Detective Bureau at 609-347-5766.
Information also can be called in anonymously to Atlantic County Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.
Contact Lynda Cohen: