Police say Lyle Barard Parrish gunned down Catryn Bridges outside the Carolina Crossings Veterinary Clinic before going home and killing himself.
Bridges is a mother of two young daughters and an ovarian cancer survivor, but she says fighting the disease was easier than healing the emotional wounds she's suffered.
"With the cancer I just felt like okay, I beat it, it's gone, it's out of my body," she said. "They said it's clear with this, there's a lot up here."
The day was March 8. Bridges said she had gone to work and her boyfriend was angry at her -- convinced she was fooling around. She still has the chilling e-mail he sent her that morning.
"The email said, 'I know you lied to me, I know you've been with another man. The next time you hear about me will be on the news. I wish I could take you with me, but you'll just have to live with it.'" Bridges said.
A few hours later she says she noticed his red truck outside her job. She had parked behind the building and opened the back door of the clinic to see what Parrish wanted as he pulled up.
"The window was down, and he said, 'I just want to talk to you Cat, and I said, 'Talk to me about what Bernie,'" Bridges recalled.
Moments later Bridges says she was staring down the barrel of a gun.
"I just remember standing there, just like slow motion because I saw the gun pop and heard the noise and it felt like somebody had kicked me, and I just remember thinking he didn't shoot me, it's just a dud or something," Bridges said.
Parrish drove off and Bridges managed to make her way inside the building and lock the door. Her coworker called for help, and she was taken to WakeMed. Parrish, according to Johnston County authorities, went to his home and took his life.
Bridges was shot in the stomach. The shattered bullet remains in her body. She says she had been dating Parrish for almost a year and although she says he was verbally abusive and insisted she was cheating on him and seemed to have a problem with alcohol, she never thought he would harm her.
"The good part just seemed to outweigh the bad, and I just thought that would get better," Bridges said.
That's why now she hopes other women will hear her story and listen to their instinct first.
"If your gut tells you this isn't right because he's calling me five times in an hour, then you're probably right, it's not normal," she said. "I feel like I invited this danger into our home and when I look at what could have happened, it scares me very much."
Bridges says she will probably continue her recovery at home for the next few weeks and hopes to return to work by May.