Exclusive: LI couple recounts ordeal of being ambushed on anniversary trip to Haiti

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Exclusive: LI couple recounts ambush on anniversary trip to Haiti
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Lucy Yang spoke exclusively with a Suffolk County couple about their ordeal during a trip to Haiti.

HUNTINGTON, Long Island (WABC) -- In an Eyewitness News exclusive, a couple from Suffolk County is recounting a harrowing ordeal in which they were ambushed in Haiti while celebrating their 20th anniversary.

The husband was shot, and a year later he still needs more surgeries. Now they are speaking about that fateful day that forever changed their lives.

Wilson and Deneise Charlotin insist they're just a boring couple raising two young boys in Huntington, Long Island - except that he has a bullet sticking out of his chest and she helped save his life.

"There was going to be good food and good drinks," said Deneise. "Good music. Good vibes. It's the island, what could go wrong?"

Last November, the couple flew to Haiti to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. Wilson had not been back to the island since he left at 12 years old. It was to be a romantic homecoming.

While being driven to the resort, they hit a road block. The driver slowed down and their van was ambushed.

"That's when people came running out of the bushes and just started shooting," said Deneise. "We were blindsided."

The driver and another passenger were struck in the hand and 47-year-old Wilson was hit in the back. Thankfully the driver kept going.

By the time they arrived at the resort, Wilson would pass out from loss of blood.

"If the bus driver didn't keep driving I don't think we would be talking today," he said.

Determined not to lose her husband, Deneise organized an emergency medical flight to Florida where doctors saved Wilson's life.

And that's where they spent their anniversary, feeling blessed in the hospital

"I said to him. You can't die. I'm not raising two kids by myself," said Deneise. "God definitely was there for us."

Now, a year later, Wilson is due to have another surgery on Thursday to repair the damage to his kidneys and finally take out that bullet which just missed his lungs and heart.

"I'm thankful that I'm here. We're here," he said. "A part of me is thankful it happened to me and not my wife."

It cost $20,000 to fly Wilson back to the US, plus other medical bills and lost time at work.

The Charlotins have now started a GoFundMe page to tell their anniversary love story.


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