JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly three years ago, Megan Hiatt lost her father and her 5-month-old twin daughters at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. She miraculously survived the attack.
Hiatt shared her story publicly last year, and opened up once again Wednesday morning at the 24th annual Hubbard House Breakfast to End Domestic Violence.
Hiatt said she was leaving her ex, Gawain Wilson, in November 2015 and her father was helping her move out of the Oceanway home they shared. Wilson found out, showed up and started shooting.
Wilson shot her seven times, killing their daughters as she held them in her arms. He also shot and killed her father before taking his own life.
“It was the worst day of my life, lying on the floor, breathing, thinking this was it, I was going to die. I was not going to make it,” Hiatt said. "I should not have survived seven gunshot wounds with that AR-15. After five life-saving surgeries, bleeding out three times, my life dwindled on that operating table. The emotional trauma alone should have been fatal. I knew God spared me for a purpose, to help others in similar situations."
That's why she tells her story every chance she gets, about how her Prince Charming became her worst nightmare.
I loved him with all my heart, but something wasn't right," Hiatt said. "I was never pretty enough. I was never what he needed or wanted."
Court records showed Wilson had a history of domestic violence.
In 2014, a woman obtained a restraining order against him. The year before that, he received probation after pleading no contest to domestic battery charges following accusations that he choked a woman.
Other survivors shared stories similar to Hiatt's -- of how what seemed perfect on the surface was anything but.
Hiatt said she witnessed almost immediately how her story could make a difference. A nurse helping her recover in rehab left her own abusive spouse and slowly began sharing her story with Hiatt.
News4Jax anchor Mary Baer was emcee of the breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
Hubbard House is a full-service certified domestic violence center providing prevention and intervention to domestic violence survivors and their families in Duval and Baker counties in Northeast Florida.
Hubbard House served 4,407 survivors last year. Nine people died of domestic violence in Duval County last year. Seven were intimate partners and two were related to victims of intimate partner domestic violence.
If you're in an abusive relationship, you can call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or 904-354-3114.