Crime

#FightingForBrooke: Family asks for prayers, support as mother of two clings to life

Brooke Koluch (center) takes a photo with her two daughters.
Brooke Koluch (center) takes a photo with her two daughters. Facebook

Most mornings begin for Laura Koluch in a rather predictable manner.

Alternating sips from a warm cup of coffee and puffs on a Marlboro Light cigarette, her daily regimen was disturbed last Sunday by a phone call that would send her family’s lives into a tailspin.

Hours earlier, Koluch’s 37-year-old sister, Brooke, was shot in the abdomen allegedly by her boyfriend, Travis Lee Taylor, during an argument at the Sun Up Pub and Grill in Socastee.

According to an Horry County Police report, the 35-year-old local man allegedly pulled a gun from his pocket and shot her, before witnesses claim he “calmly walked out of the front door.” Prior to the incident, Brooke Koluch was nearing the end of her shift as a bartender at the establishment.

“I basically received messages from a stranger, a friend of my sister,” Laura Koluch said. “I was actually on my way to work when I called. When he told me the news, I stopped the car and pulled over, before heading for the hospital.”

Laura Koluch said her sister was in the process of moving on from Taylor, but the idea of splitting up wasn’t mutual.

“I knew something was up with him when I first met him … I pulled his card from the beginning,” she said. “But (Brooke Koluch) loved him. When you get that deep in love, sometimes it impairs your judgment.

“Once she finally came to her senses, he got mad and this is how he reacted.”

Taylor was arrested last Wednesday and was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He has since been released on $20,000 bond.

“I can’t say everything I want to say, because this is an ongoing case. But I am truly upset with the judge for allowing him to basically walk out of jail on $20,000 bond after attempting to kill someone,” Laura Koluch said. “Our whole family is seeking justice, because (Taylor) has left a mother of 5- and 7-year-old girls fighting for her life. It just isn’t right.”

Since the shooting, Brooke Koluch has undergone four different surgical procedures. She remains in critical condition.

Yet, there still remains a glimmer of hope.

“Her neurological assessment is totally intact,” said Carol Koluch, Brooke’s mother, via Facebook. “She blinks on command, she squeezes the nurse’s fingers, she wiggles her toes. Her pupils react equally.”

According to the family, one of the best signs was the discovery of activity in her intestines, particularly following the damage done as a result of the shooting.

Despite being heavily sedated, she is not in a medically-induced coma.

The family continues to provide regular updates via social media, while asking for prayers and donations to help offset medical costs.

Using the #FightingForBrooke hashtag, the family created a GoFundMe account. Since it was launched, more than $1,000 has been raised.

“My sister is beautiful, stubborn, strong and hilarious,” Laura Koluch said. “She’s a hustler. She works so that her two girls don’t have to want for anything. But if someone needed it, she would give of her last to make sure that they have.

“So to see the support that the community and so many others have offered, it is so incredible. I truly believe there is strength in numbers and this is proof positive of that.”

Though spent emotionally, the local woman has been able to pick up enough energy to fight another cause.

“No one should have to deal with domestic violence,” Laura Koluch said. “No one should have to be afraid of anyone.

“It has really become part of my mission since this happened … because everyone knows someone that has been through something like this, though maybe not as tragic. What happened isn’t love, so it’s up to us to show what love is.”

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

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