A 15-year-old Bronx teen, not too far from her school in the Morrisania section, was shot in the head by a stray bullet yesterday afternoon. She had apparently walked into a dispute between two men—the Daily News reports, "As Vada Vasquez underwent emergency brain surgery, cops hunted for a bicycle-riding gunman who fired wildly at a man suspected of being a snitch." The apparent target of the gunfire, a 19-year-old man, was also shot in the abdomen and leg and taken to a hospital.
According to the Post, Vada, a student at Bronx Latin, was "chatting with a friend at around 3:45 p.m. on the corner of Home Street and Prospect Avenue," when the shooting began between two groups. (The News says the fight broke out near the Davidson Houses projects.) A witness said, "First, [Vada] was lying still. People started crowding around her, and after a few minutes, she jumped up. She tried to stand up, but I told her to stay calm and lie down. I asked her if she had a phone to call her parents." She added that when "Vada lurched forward," "Blood poured out of her head. Her friend was screaming. She was hysterical. She didn't know what happened to her."
Firefighters applied pressure to the back of her head to stop the bleeding; the News reports, "The bullet shattered inside the middle of Vada's brain, and there was no exit wound" and that she is in a medically-induced coma. Police sources also tell the News, "She had nothing to do with [the shooter]" and that she was "definitely an innocent." And resident told NY1, "This poor little girl. It could have been my son --he's 13. I just don't want to stay here."
Police are looking for the shooter, described as a black male between 16 and 22 years of age and wearing a black and blue hooded t-shirt and Yankees cap. Community activist Tony Herbert was outraged, "This madness is getting out of hand and if we don't come up with a plan now, we are on the verge of seeing young Black and Hispanic children become extinct." Last month, a Brooklyn teen was fatally shot outside his school.