Jayden Grant, an 11-year old African American boy from Brooklyn, was struck by a stray bullet fired by a gang member, injuring his spine. His grandmother, Bessie Watson-Grant, says she felt heartbroken when the young boy asked her why he can’t feel his legs.
Watson-Grant said Jayden is still in the ICU after sustaining a gunshot wound in his chest. The bullet hit his spine and is stuck in the soft tissue in his back.
“Right now, Jayden has no sensation from the waist down. There is still some swelling [around his spinal cord],” Watson-Grant, a 53-year old registered nurse outside the hospital where Jayden is being treated, told the New York Post. “There’s a lot of hope that when the swelling goes down, he’ll start feeling a sensation in his lower body.”
She said Jayden was initially crying and confused when he was no longer intubated. She recalled him asking, “Why can’t I feel my legs?”
But he eventually became the one staying strong for his family, including his 10-year old brother, who was with him during the shooting and was not hurt but traumatized, and his father, who felt guilty for not being able to protect him at that moment.
“He’s comforting us. He said, ‘Grandma, you look tired, go get some rest,’” said Watson-Grant. “He told his dad, ‘It’s not your fault.’”
Jayden was outside a barber shop in Crown Heights after getting his hair cut and while waiting for his father when Angel Eaddy, a 27-year old gang member, reportedly opened fire and struck him with a stray bullet. Eaddy was allegedly trying to shoot another person from 50 feet away. That person, a 31-year old who was identified as his gangland rival, was shot only in the left knee.
Eaddy has been charged with attempted murder, assault, reckless endangerment, and weapons possession. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.
Meanwhile, Jayden, who had to miss his graduation from elementary school the next day of the shooting, received a lot of support from the community. His school, New Bridges Elementary in Brooklyn, has launched a GoFundMe for Jayden and has since raised more than $50,000.
“I told him that a lot of people are praying for you,” said Watson-Grant. “He said, ‘Grandma, tell everybody thank you for praying for me.’”