Brave 10-year-old Girl Shot by Stray Bullet Lives to Tell Her Story

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stray bullet, lives to tell her story

No sweeter sound can be heard than the vernacular chimes of the iconic Concord Baptist Church in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, while luring its loyal congregation that extends far and wide for generations, into its welcoming doors.  Any given Sunday, while strolling through this beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood during the spring, summer or fall, you can hear the jubilant sounds of magnificent gospel choirs, ringing out through the open doors of churches all around, accompanied by the sweet melodies of assorted birds contently occupying the full and leafy trees that line the long, inviting blocks. Elder ladies of the church adorned in their finest bonnets and the elder gentlemen donned in their Sunday best assemble to keep up the age-old tradition.

Any given Sunday, you can experience a sense of Nirvana in this beautiful Bed-Stuy neighborhood. But beneath the surface of a seemingly peaceful and thriving neighborhood lies an ugly predator, once again unmasked by the utters of a 10-year- old shooting victim named Denia Kearse who was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle while she played with a balloon on one of the same neighborhood streets described above.

Community Advocate and head of the Urban Community Council, Tony Herbert, set up a press conference at The MW Enoch Masonic Grand Lodge, located at 423 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn to give the young honor student a platform on which to share the details of her harrowing experience and publicly speak out against the gun violence that is terrorizing the neighborhood kids and their families.

Amidst the lights, camera, action and reporters shooting questions from every direction, the brave little 10-year-old girl took the podium and bashfully gave this account of her terrifying experience:

“I went downstairs to get my balloon.  All of a sudden, I heard gunshots and I tried to run into the building. I got to my grandmother’s house and my cousin asked me what happened. I told her they were shooting. I didn’t know I was shot.   She ran downstairs to get my grandmother.  My grandmother looked at my arms and saw there was blood all over.  It wasn’t until I was in the hospital that I realized what happened to me. I was scared. Now, I’m very scared to go back outside and play.  I’m used to going outside to play, but now, I’m very scared and it bothers me that I can’t go to school.  I want to say to shooters, please stop.”

Denia’s grandmother who discovered that the 10-year-old was shot is still traumatized and stated, “I thank God that my grandchild is alive. Please, y’all stop the violence – please stop the violence.”

Denia’s pint sized 7-year-old uncle, eagerly took the stage to rundown his account of the incident.  “My 10-year-old niece got shot.  She didn’t know that she was shot. She came in the house and she was just leaking blood. So, I asked her what happened and she said she didn’t know.  I said, 'Denia, you’re leaking blood all over the floor.'  Then, Grandmother asked what happened and Denia said, ‘I don’t know.”  Grandmother told Denia to go wipe the blood off.  Denia said, ‘No! It burns.’  Grandmother asked whose blood it was.  Denia said she didn’t know.  Denia thought someone got shot and their blood spattered all over her.  Then they all went to the hospital, and I wanted to come, but I couldn’t come because I was too little.  Now, I’m scared to go outside.  My friends come to get me to come play outside, but I don’t want to go because I’m scared somebody might get hurt.”  

The unmitigated fear of a 7-year-old child -- the real, live Boogeyman. One bullet wreaked all this havoc on one family and an entire community.  Even more chilling – it could have been worse.  

Adrian Straker from Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz’ office stated, "This young lady, who at ten years old, has had an experience that we hope that none of us will never have to experience.  This is something a 10-year-old child should never have to go through – a stray bullet.  We’ve been hearing about the violence that is perpetrated in our communities and we need it to stop.  We’ve heard from the 10-year-old; we’ve heard from the mother of the 10-year-old; we’ve heard from the grandmother of the 10-year-old; and we’ve heard it from the 7-year-old uncle, and we need it to stop. There are better ways to solve our problems than with guns.  These are weapons and they are made to inflict harm.  This is not a war zone.  This is our home, this is our community, and these are our children.  And we are not going to stand for it.  This is still an unsolved crime.  There is still someone out there who did this to a child and we don’t want this to happen to anyone else.  We need someone to step up to the plate so we don’t have to stand here and talk about this.  We should be talking about all she’s going to achieve as a child – as an elementary school student of PS 92; we want to hear about her achievements.  We don’t want to hear about her missing school and suffering because of someone’s ignorance.  And we are asking that everyone stand up for the community. If you saw something, say something. If you know something, say something.  It’s not snitching – it’s ditching the bad behavior."

Community Advocate, Anthony Herbert stated, “We are blessed that Denia  is still with us, and that she and her family were willing to come out and speak to those individuals who would harm a child through criminal and irresponsible behavior and to denounce any gun violence in our community.  We are not going to tolerate it; we are not going to accept any excuses for anyone having an illegal gun in their household, and whoever committed this crime will be caught, and when you get caught, you will be processed to the fullest extent of the law.

Pursuant to the conference, the community has set up a fund to ensure a college education for honor student and aspiring lawyer, Denia Kearse. Hopefully, this dutiful gesture will quench young Denia’s fear and restore her confidence in "the Village."


Brenda Jeanne Wyche is Managing Editor of The Black Star News and Harlem Business News.  If you have a solution, email brenda@blackstarnews.com .  Maybe we'll talk.

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