By Cavelle Layes, Kamloops This Week

Five-year-old Tristan Sabyan sat on the lap of her mom, Tanya Watkins, cuddling as she watched cartoons on television.

Tristan’s dad, Cory Sabyan, sat by their side, enjoying the peaceful time with his family.

Moments later, chaos erupted.

Cory crouched by the fridge, clutching his blood-covered daughter.

Tanya remained on the couch, in shock and pain.

The family had become victims of crossfire from a violent June 4 fight in the suite above them in their rental home in the Brocklehurst neighbourhood of Kamloops.

A bullet allegedly shot by Trevor Wilvers went through the floor and into Tanya’s arm, blasting into her elbow and ripping through her bicep before lodging in her shoulder.

Her bones were blown apart and pieces were dragged throughout her arm.

According to Cory, his wife, who now has nerve and muscle damage, was told by doctors she would never fully recover. He said the bones were so damaged that many pieces could not be recovered and a metal rod has been inserted in her arm.

Tanya cannot move her thumb or close her hand and she may need bone grafting.

The family, stricken with fear, could not return to the home at 1734 Brunner Ave. after the incident, due to fear and anxiety.

They are now staying at Tanya’s sister’s house in Merritt.

“We needed a chance to gather ourselves,” Cory said, noting the couple has spent years struggling to make ends meet while working minimum-wage jobs.

They have worked hard to ensure they did not need to rely on “the system,” he said, but with Cory in need of surgery for another matter and Tanya a long way from recovering fully, neither is able to work.

With no income outside of employment insurance, they cannot find an affordable place to live.

When retrieving their belongings from the Brunner Avenue house, Cory discovered their home had been broken into and items were stolen.

As he tried to pack up what was left, the loud banging from the upstairs unit sent him into a ball on the floor.

Terror and fear pumped through him as he tried to collect his family’s belongings.

“It was still so loud,” Cory said. “There was so much yelling and banging. It was like they thought nothing had happened. They were still just partying it up.”

The family was forced to sell belongings, including couches, beds and smaller items, as they had no place to store them.

“We didn’t just lose a little sense of security. We lost it all – everything,” Cory said.

They remain in Merritt, desperately searching for a place to call home.

The young family has looked for help, but is unsure where to go.

The avenues they have sought out have not panned out, Cory said, explaining their situation does not meet the proper criteria in many cases.

“I guess if you get shot in your own home…” Cory said, becoming flustered. “I don’t even know what to say.”

The couple has been trying to keep their daughter distracted throughout the past month.

Despite day care and constant outings, Tristan remains visibly shaken.

She is scared of people she does not know and is very cautious about going to new places.

“My five-year-old daughter is worrying about being safe,” Cory said. “That’s not something a little girl should be worried about.”

Security is something with which the entire family is struggling.

Cory and Tanya were sitting outside in Merritt on Canada Day, trying to cool off in the evening and relax after a long day.

Then the fireworks began.

“We didn’t even think about them before then,” Cory said.

His stomach instantly began churning and the hair on his neck stood on ends up as a chill went through his body at the first fireworks pop, which instantly brought him back to the moment of the shooting.

They are unable to sit through a movie at the theatre due to the loud noises. Tanya is afraid to be left alone and there is always a sense of unease even while sitting in their sister’s living room, 45 minutes from the scene of the shooting.

“I am 32 years old and have been around and seen a lot,” Cory said. “Yet I never thought being at home with locked doors would be something I would need to worry about.”

The family recently got a puppy to help with the feeling of unease.

“It gives that added sense of security,” Cory said.

They continue to search for a place to live, hoping to find a home somewhere on the outskirts of Kamloops at a rate they can afford.

“We just need someone to help us out, something to get our feet back on the ground,” Cory said.

“I don’t want my daughter to think the only safe place is her aunty’s house. I need to let her know that her home is safe, but she needs a home.”

Trevor Michael Wilvers faces several charges in relation to the shooting including unlawfully causing bodily harm, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunition, and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and possession of a firearm contrary to a judicial order.

He is scheduled to return to court on Thursday, July 18, at 9:30 a.m.