MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Chef Wendy Puckett tells WCCO she is grateful to be alive after being shot in the face outside her restaurant, and she’s now gearing up to get back to work.

Puckett was shot by a pellet gun while leaving her north Minneapolis restaurant Wendy’s House of Soul two weeks ago, forcing her to close her doors during the Thanksgiving holiday — one of their busiest weeks of the year for her business.

She was walking to her car after she closed down for the night at about 9 p.m. She says she only remembers hearing a car drive by, laughter, and then she was shot. Minneapolis police still do not have any suspects, but they are reviewing surveillance footage from neighboring businesses in the area.

“It just simply scared the hell out of me,” Puckett said. “I get sad because someone would think that this is funny.”

The pellet was lodged in her cheek, just missing her eye. She had surgery to remove the pellet on Wednesday, and she plans to return to work on Saturday, Dec. 7. In the meantime, her assistant chef opened the restaurant with a limited menu and limited hours.

Wendy Puckett (credit: CBS)

Despite the emotional trauma and physical pain Puckett has been through, this has not scared her away from the neighborhood.

“I’m Northside for life. I love Nprthside. I don’t think that these people intended to actually hurt me,” she said.

The restaurant’s employees have been out of a job for two weeks, but they said they are worried more about their leader than the income.

“Everybody is devastated. They can’t really grasp why this happened to her. She’s a good lady,” said assistant chef Nature.

While they were closed, friends and strangers donated over $5,500 to the restaurant.

“I’m glad that I give off that much energy to people, and that much love that they would be willing to give back to me,” Puckett said.

Minneapolis Police are asking for any witnesses call CrimeStoppers anonymously at 612-692-TIPS (8477).

Marielle Mohs