The mother of the 16-year-old Bronx boy accused of shooting a rival gang member and an innocent young bystander gave her first interview with the press yesterday. In a teary sit-down with the Post, Zelita Mighty explained that she tried to keep her son, Carvett Gentles, away from the gang culture that grips the area around East 169th Street and Boston Road—where her own father was shot nine times in the back when she was a teen. But at some point over the summer, she claims "Zico" [Carvett's nickname] went from being an engaged student who would "proudly bring home attendance and science awards" to a distant young man mixing with his older cousins and uncle—members of the Gorilla Stone Blood gang.

"What happened?" she asked the Post, through tears. "They just take him and carry him, carry him with them." But Mighty insists Gentles could not have fired the six bullets Monday, one of which exploded inside the skull of 15-year-old Vada Vasquez. "He don't have the heart," Mighty said. "Zico can't even hold that gun because Zico good." And today the Post published a long article examining how Gentles's cousins and uncle have stayed out of prison; the four other young men arrested all have prior arrest records, but the tabloid says "lenient judges and bungling prosecutors let the vicious thugs busted in last week's shooting of an innocent teenager freely walk Bronx streets."

Over the weekend Vasquez emerged from her medically-induced coma and is now recognizing family members and responding to questions. The intended target of Monday's gang shooting, Tyrone Creighton, is out of the hospital after being shot in the lung. He says he's sorry for what happened to Vasquez, and explains that the day of the shooting began happily for him because his lawyer had told him that attempted murder charges from a July shooting were being dropped. "I'm angry people tried to make me feel like it's my fault," Creighton said over the weekend. "I don't know why these guys did this to me."

This afternoon at 4:30, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. will join other anti-gun and community groups in a candlelight vigil, starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Bronx County Building. Details here.