Priesthood Blessings Sustained Survivor of Horrific Crime
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- On June 9, 2004, 16-year-old Kim Lingard Brown was shot twice by an armed robber in a small-town laundromat.
- She received a timely priesthood blessing immediately following the incident and another following a 14-hour operation.
- Now, nine years later, she is a mom and a college graduate who continually testifies of the power of priesthood blessings.
“It taught me that the Lord really does have a hand in our lives.” —Kim Lingard Brown, shooting victim
Kim Lingard Brown has no memory of the horrific crime that forever changed her life almost a decade ago.
She doesn’t remember the face of the man who entered the small-town laundromat where she worked and that he intended to rob. She can’t recall—perhaps thankfully—the moment that man raised a .45 caliber pistol and fired one bullet into her right shoulder and a second into the back of her head.
And she has no memory of the two men, both strangers, who placed their hands atop her wounded head and gave her a priesthood blessing even as they waited for the paramedics to arrive.
But lost memories, she will tell you, do not belie the reality. On June 9, 2004, Sister Brown—then a 16-year-old high school senior—was indeed shot twice during a robbery of a laundromat in Grantsville, Utah. And while she can’t remember the priesthood blessing she received in the moments following the crime, she firmly believes it played a pivotal, even divine role in her survival.
“It taught me that the Lord really does have a hand in our lives,” said Sister Brown, who now lives with her husband, John, and their 9-month-old daughter, Ava, in Taylorsville, Utah.
The chilling details of the crime were prominently covered by Utah newspapers and television stations. Kim was working a summer job at the laundromat when a prisoner out on parole robbed the business and, inexplicably, shot the young cashier. Moments after the robber left, a customer walked into the establishment and heard a faint noise coming from a back room. There she found Kim, bleeding and unconscious. The customer rushed to a restaurant next door and pleaded for help. A man who was visiting Grantsville on business—a priesthood holder—ran from his seat in the restaurant to assist. Before entering the laundromat, he called to another man who was passing by: “Hey, do you hold the priesthood?”
The man answered affirmatively. Seconds later, they were administering to Kim.
“They gave me a blessing before the police and paramedics arrived,” she said. “They knew it was important.”
Kim was transported to the University Hospital in Salt Lake City and underwent hours of surgery. The prognosis was grim. Doctors told Kim’s parents to expect the worst. Following her initial 14-hour operation, Craig Lingard placed his hands on his daughter’s head and gave her a father’s priesthood blessing.
It was soon discovered that the bullet that had passed through Kim’s head had just missed her spinal cord. She narrowly escaped severe brain, spinal, or eye injury. Still, there was significant damage. Kim is permanently deaf in her right ear and still deals with numbness on one side of her body. But she’s quick to count her blessings. She has shared her story with Church groups countless times and always testifies of the power of priesthood blessings. She is grateful that three men—the two strangers at the laundromat and her father—were worthy and willing to exercise the priesthood when unexpectedly called upon.
The gunman, meanwhile, was intercepted by the Utah Highway Patrol a few hours after the crime. Following a brief stand-off with troopers, he turned the gun on himself and died.
Months after the shooting, Kim was able to return to Grantsville High School and finished the next year with her class. She later graduated from BYU–Idaho, attended graduate school, became a physical therapist, and started a family. “I feel extremely blessed, and I have a belief that God cares for His children,” she said.