Boy grazed by bullet in Elizabeth, NJ

July 2, 2009 2:55:23 PM PDT
A 9-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after he was caught in a crossfire and grazed by a bullet in in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Wednesday. And the shooting happened on his birthday.

"At first I didn't know I was shot," the young victim said. "Then I saw the blood and felt my head."

He was wearing shades because his mother is concerned about a little too much exposure. But she allowed him to speak with Eyewitness News about being grazed by a bullet in the lobby of his Oakwood Plaza apartment building.

It is a complex with a history of violence, says local peace activist Salaam Ismial.

"This apartment complex is plagued with violence and has been the scene of shootings for at least 10 years," he said.

This time, a kid was caught in the crossfire. The gun was not purposely aimed at him, but a bullet hit him nonetheless.

"I tried to run back upstairs to my apartment, but I couldn't make it," he said.

He was given seven stitches at Trinitas Hospital on a day that should have gone much better than it did. It was his birthday, and now, he is lucky to be alive. Family and friends are celebrating both his birth and his survival.

"It's a party for me because I missed my birthday yesterday," he said.

Police have been patrolling the area more. It is a hotspot that has long concerned Ismial.

"I'm worried that a 9-year-old can walk out of his building to go to the store on his birthday and get shot," he said. "And it can happen again out here, that's how tough it is."

Police believe many people saw what happened, and they're hoping someone will give them the tip they're looking for.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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