Alicia Nilo was doing a routine workout on Vancouver’s Padden Parkway Trail, training for a half marathon that was only three days away.
Nilo was getting close to home, about a half-mile away, when she felt a sharp pain in her hip. She looked down, finding a hole in her clothes. Then she saw the blood.
Nilo knew she had been shot.
She immediately ran for cover, not knowing if another bullet was coming.
Nilo, 26, was shot in what officials believe was a random shooting near the 11400 block of Padden Parkway about 4 p.m. on Oct. 21, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
A Washington State Patrol trooper happened to be nearby. The trooper called paramedics, who took her to a hospital, officials said.
The bullet narrowly missed Nilo’s spinal cord and vital organs, her mother said, but she faces a long road to recovery.
Once a strong runner and athlete, Nilo now has to relearn to walk, said her mother, Jessie Nilo.
She can only take half-steps with the help of a walker, and the bullet lodged in her hip may be there to stay, as doctors fear an operation could cause more damage.
Nilo’s mother said that three weeks after the shooting, her daughter’s wound is causing her constant pain, to the point that she can’t sit comfortably.
Nilo loves being surrounded by nature, her mother said. Running, often with her dog Shia, is her outlet to get outdoors.
Prior to being shot, Nilo ran the Padden Parkway Trail several times a week, her mother said.
She was coming off the August Bridge of Gods Half Marathon and getting ready to compete in the Columbia Gorge half marathon in Hood River.
“To tell you the truth, I can’t imagine her life without being able to exercise in that way,” her mother said. “But I also know my daughter and she will find a way.”
The recovery process could take years, Nilo’s mother said, and even then she may never fully recover.
There have been 84 shootings in Vancouver so far this year, said Kim Kapp, a Vancouver police spokesperson. The city saw 15 shootings in October.
Kapp said that while Vancouver police don’t track the city’s number of shootings, year over year, she believes shootings have spiked in 2021 — mirroring the ongoing run of gun violence in neighboring Portland.
Patrol deputies and sergeants have also noted a dramatic uptick in calls for shots fired compared to previous years in Vancouver, said Sgt. Brent Waddell, a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
He said a shooting in the area where Nilo was shot is unusual.
“Literally so close to home, and to be shot out of the blue that way? Mentally and emotionally it’s a challenge to even feel safe around your own neighborhood,” Nilo’s mother said. “She’ll have to grapple with that, and it’s going to be a long process.”
Detectives have no suspects in the case, Waddell said. An investigation continues.
Nilo’s mom set up an online crowdfunding page to help her daughter pay for medical expenses and equipment like a walker, wheelchair and mattress designed to relieve pressure on her hip wound.