Vigil for girl shot in the Bronx

November 17, 2009 9:31:44 PM PST
Tears flowed in the Bronx. Hundreds of people with candles in hand took to the streets to support a teenage girl now fighting for her life. New York may claim to be the safest big city in America, but some people are feeling anything but safe and they're trying to find an answer: how to stop the violence?

People came from all over the city to show support for the wounded girl and to show solidarity for the people who live in the neighborhood, who live with the sound of gunfire, live with the consequences of the gunfire and pray now for the day it stops.

When the speeches were done and the prayers were said, when the candles burned down and the tears wiped away, the people here went home to the same violent world that left a 15-year-old with a bullet in her head and fighting for her life.

"It's sad and it's very scary. I have two teenaged boys of my own," said Eileen Mercado. "I fear for their lives every single day that they leave my house."

Vada Vasquez was on her way home from school on Monday when a bullet from a gunfight down the street hit her in the head. No one has been charged, but two men are in custody for questioning.

It is little consolation for the family of the young girl with such big dreams.

"She wants to go to college and pursue a career in graphics or something. She likes video games and stuff," said the victim's sister, Mandy Boodram.

Everyone at the vigil wants to see the violence end, but few are optimistic that the children will grow up in a world much different.

One woman told me she prayed for a day when it would be safer in this neighborhood, but she said she was reluctant to get involved because she too might become a target. But, as 15-year-old Vada Vasquez shows, you don't have to be a target to become a victim.