Survivor and Sister of a La Quinta Gunman Attempts to Rebuild But Faces Challenges

Survivor and Sister of a La Quinta Gunman Attempts to Rebuild But Faces Challenges

Max Rodriguez

It was six months ago when a gunman opened fire in a La Quinta Cove home. One woman was injured while her husband was shot dead. The woman speaks out for the first time about her own brother, the man who pulled the trigger on that fateful September day.

The woman is Paula McGrath, she was visiting her mother’s house with her husband Michael McGrath when her brother Stacy Rowan, came out of a bedroom gun in hand and started firing.

Her husband died at the scene, a bullet pierced through her torso and arm, while her mother witnessed the entire scene.

“I don’t know if he shot my husband first and then shot at me or shot me and then him,” McGrath said. “I still hear my brother down this hallway at night so I sit straight up and I pray to God say the Our Father prayer and just keep on going.”

The day of the shooting, her brother the suspect, was supposed to be in court facing felony charges of illegal possession of guns and materials to make explosives.

After the shooting spree in La Quinta, the suspect fled and led a police chase that ended in Ontario when the suspect killed himself. But the story did not end there.

A couple of hours into the homicide investigation by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the home suddenly caught fire apparently in the Rowan’s room where police said he kept explosive material.

That is the reason why the house is being re-built, something that has been difficult because of problems with her insurance company, Allstate.

She wants her mother’s home reconstructed to its original blueprint, but she notices the roof beam is lower by a couple of feet than it should. There are also wooden materials part of the house frame with noticeable scars from the fire. They want the wood with fire damage removed as her 90-year-old mother’s health is delicate.

She said, “I just want mom’s house built right, I mean she’s been through so much, build it right, build it, build it to the cost of everything and mom will be happy.”

A spokesperson for Allstate said the company does not comment on specific policies or claims for protection of the customer, but said, “We are currently working closely with the customer and are committed to resolving the claim fairly and in a timely manner,”.

While the house can be rebuilt, the task is more difficult to rebuild shattered lives, the loss of her husband and best-friend in that terrible day last September.

McGrath said, “That’s just changed, it’s not the same without him, he was so sweet and so kind, and he loved, he loved me every second of the day.”