Daron Dean/AP Photo. The Record/AP Photo. Illustration by Jesse LenzFor couples craving solitude, the beach at Guana River State Park is an ideal spot for a late-night tryst. Hidden by thickets of saw palmetto, the ribbon of sand unspools along a lonesome stretch of Route A1A south of Jacksonville, Florida. Entry after sunset is officially forbidden, but intrepid lovers often park on the roadside and follow wooden walkways into the dunes.
Justin Barber, 30, and his wife, April, 27, had done just that on August 17, 2002. They were tipsy and amorous, Justin later recalled, having celebrated their third wedding anniversary with dinner at an Italian restaurant, followed by drinks at a bar. Around 10:30 p.m., as they strolled along the water’s edge, a tall man in a baggy T-shirt approached them. He waved a pistol and yelled something about cash and car keys. Justin stepped in front of April. The gun went off. He grappled with the stranger. The beach went black.
When Justin came to, he found he’d been shot four times—in both shoulders, under the right nipple, and through the left hand. The man was gone. Justin called April’s name, then spotted her floating face down in the surf. There was a .22-caliber hole in her left cheek. He dragged her up the beach until his strength gave out, then left her and staggered to the road to flag down passing cars. When none stopped, he climbed into his Toyota 4Runner, turned on the flashers, and gunned it. Nearly ten miles down the road, a motorist signaled him to pull over and called 911. As Justin was transferred to a hospital, police and rescuers searched the beach for April.
Lt. Ben Tanner of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Department found her. “She was lying with her head to the north, facing the ocean,” he says. “She didn’t have a pulse.”
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Survival Stories
What You’re Sharing
- This Navy Sailor Was Put in the Brig for Not Reporting for Duty on December 6, 1941. It Saved His Life.
- This Man Witnessed the Official Entry of the United States into World War II
- At 15, He Never Thought WWII Would Involve Him. Two Years Later He Was Wading Ashore in Normandy.
- This Family Has a Special Attachment to Their Fine China Dishes, and the Reason Will Warm Your Heart
- These Army Buddies Set a Record of Playing Table Tennis 100 Hours Straight