HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman assaulted in a Holland liquor store by her ex-boyfriend led to an Iraq war veteran coming to her defense and shooting the assailant.

She says if that had not happened, she would have died.

The 41-year-old mother said she has been in an on-again, off-again relationship with the man she says abused her physically and verbally. She says she felt trapped.

“Any time I tried to break up with him and tell him I didn’t want to be with him anymore, that’s when he became physical and would attack me,” she said. “As long as he was happy, when we were together, I was safer.”

24 Hour News 8 talked to the victim over the phone as she is still in bed recovering from her injuries. She did not want her name or face made public.

Court records that show the man who was shot around 10:20 p.m. Thursday night at the Columbia Avenue One Stop near East 17th Street is 29-year-old Tramell Jackson.

Jackson has an extensive criminal record that includes assault, resisting police and destruction of property. State records show he was wanted on a warrant related to domestic abuse.

Not long ago, he was in contact with Community Mental Health, according to his ex-girlfriend, and his Facebook includes this entry: “So, I got evaluated today and the psychologist tells me I’m crazy…”

His ex-girlfriend said Jackson called her work repeatedly, ranting jealously as she tried to do her job and then she saw his dad drive him to the store.

She said he was there for about 20 minutes, berating her in front of customers, one of whom called 911 after seeing her crying.

Finally, she decided to try and escape.

“And I started running toward the door and that’s when he grabbed me and threw me down and started pummeling my head,” she said. “I heard a customer scream, ‘Get off of her, leave her alone, stop attacking her’ and he stopped attacking me and started attacking the customer.”

Holland police say it appears that Jackson made a grab for the gun and was then shot twice in the chest.

His former girlfriend says she has been in contact with the customer.

“He was like, ‘The look I saw in that guy’s eyes, I hadn’t seen since I was in Iraq,’” she said.

She believes he saved her life.

“God sent me an angel, because I know he would have killed me,” she said.

Holland police say they believe the customer, who has a license to carry a gun, was acting in self-defense and he has not been charged, although his gun is being held as evidence.

They will be asking the prosecutor to file assault charges against Jackson.

The victim here says she hopes they don’t let her boyfriend out because he has shown he can hide from police.