5-year-old girl shot by stray bullet improving

July 18, 2010 12:17:24 PM PDT
A 5-year-old Jersey City girl has regained movement of her arms and legs after being shot.

5-year-old Hazmeera Clayton remains in critical but stable condition at University Hospital in Newark.

"She's only a baby, she's 5 years old, she's an innocent child, she didn't know what was going on," said Arlene White, the victim's cousin.

It happened in the Montgomery Gardens Housing Project just before 10:30 p.m. Friday, when an outside gathering suddenly turned into a fight.

Somehow, police say 18-year-old Demetrius Thompson had a gun and used it.

"So he can call it a stray bullet all he wants, if that 5-year-old child was standing in close proximity to where he was shooting, there's no stray bullet," said Chief Thomas Comey of the Jersey City Police Department.

Police say its one more sad example of illegal guns.

Cops spent most of the day searching for Thompson, nicknamed "Meaty", even speaking to him through the cameras.

"You can call a prosecutor's office, I don't care if you call Mickey Mouse, to surrender you," Chief Comey said.

Moments later, they caught up with him inside this house several miles away.

That's where they also found his gun and as they brought him in.

He immediately put his head down, refusing to answer any questions as cops site this case as an example of why residents in Jersey City need to do more to protect their own community.

They say just look at Hazmeera, who now has a bullet in her neck.

"Instead of playing with a Barbie doll today, and being a princess, she is fighting for her life," Chief Comey said.

"The citizens now have to step up, get those guns out of the young people's hands," said Samuel Jefferson, of the Jersey City Police Department.

Hazmeera's family is still trying to grasp all that's happened to her, in just a matter of seconds.

"I was on the ground with her, rubbing her, talking to her, she was talking to me back," White said.

"When I know she's in that emergency room, I just broke down, but she's a lovely little girl, everybody loves her," said Delphine Johnston, the victim's grandmother.