Teen Shot Near Pizza Store Waiting to Learn if Vision Will Return, Dad Says
EAST FLATBUSH — A 13-year-old innocent bystander shot twice in the head outside a Flatbush Avenue pizza shop has been left with partial blindness, and relatives are praying that his vision will return, they said.
"Right now, we want a diagnosis if he's going to get his vision back," Droiville's father, Jimmy Marcel, said outside Kings County Hospital on Tuesday. "Right now, they're not giving any percentage. They just want to follow procedures to see if they can save his eye."
Gama Droiville was shot twice above his right eye as he waited at a B41 bus stop with his family in front of Avenue II Pizza, at 1066 Flatbush Ave. near Beverly Road, about noon on Monday, according to police and family.
His father said Tuesday that Droiville escaped brain damage, and has already been able to begin speaking following about 5 hours of surgery, which lasted until 4 a.m. that morning.
"It's a miracle and we thank God for that. The bullet didn't touch his brain. It's a blessing," Marcel said. "He's in good spirits. He was really happy to see us. We talked. We want him to be getting better. The doctors told us it's a blessing he's alive."
Investigators released dramatic footage Tuesday showing the shooter running slightly crouched while clutching the gun at his right side before raising it in front of him.
Droiville was standing with his aunt and her son when the shots rang out. Although his aunt tried to push the boys toward a nearby store to escape the gunfire, Droiville was struck, relatives said.
"Auntie, I can't see. I cannot see!" Droiville said after being shot, according to Marcel. The boy added, "God is with me. I'm not going to die."
Droiville's pastor said the boy is dedicated to the choir at the French Speaking Baptist Church in Fort Greene where he sings every Sunday.
"He's hanging in there. He's very strong," said Rev. Daniel Ulysee at a Tuesday press conference at the bus stop where the shooting happened.
Police said the gunman, whose identity was not released, was wearing a hoodie with the letters "ROC" on the chest and number "99" on each bicep. He was spotted on surveillance video wandering around the scene before the shooting, and fleeing the scene after the shooting, police said.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents the district next to where the Monday shooting took place, asked the community to come forward with any information they may have about the shooter.
"You are not a man. That was a punk boy move. You are in punk boy status," a visibly angry Williams said during the press conference. "There is nothing manly about what you did. Period."
Police believe his intended target, a 24-year-old man, was hit in the leg and went for treatment at Kings County Hospital, the NYPD said. That man, whose name was not released, was in stable condition Tuesday.
The cause of the shooting was not clear, police said.
This is the second high-profile shooting in as many months in which an innocent bystander was shot in the head.
A gang dispute erupted on a Bed-Stuy bus on March 20 when 14-year-old Kathon Anderson shot at a group of rivals, but hit Angel Rojas, a father of two, instead.
Williams condemned the recent violence.
"Simply walking down the street shouldn't mean a death sentence anywhere, for anyone, anywhere in this city," he said in a Tuesday morning statement.
As police searched for Droiville's attacker, his father said family are trying to let him rest and keep his mind off the shooting.
"We don't really try to ask him what happened. The main concern for us is that he returns to his life. We don't talk to him about what happened because it's really fresh," Marcel said.
Gama was in good spirits and in stable condition, recovering from his wounds Tuesday afternoon, according to a family statement released by the hospital.
The NYPD's Crime Stoppers program has offered a $2,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the suspect, community leaders said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).