|Keoshia Ford, age 14|
And also, sadly:A witness, who asked not to be identified, said Sunday that her niece and a friend were going outside between 8:30 and 9 p.m. on Saturday night when they saw Keoshia, distraught and saying that she was being chased.While the witness was ushering her children inside, she heard shots ring out, she said. After securing the children, the woman came back to find Keoshia had been shot behind her ear and in her chest. There was no sign of the shooters. She said she called police."This child was an innocent bystander," the woman said.Keoshia's father, Michael Ford, said he doesn't know who would want to harm his daughter or why. He said Keoshia was visiting a friend on Bennett Avenue when she was attacked."All I know is that my baby's fighting for her life," he said.He wondered if a gang dispute is to blame, adding that police told him the bullets came from two different guns.
This shooting marks the second of the weekend in Chattanooga. On Saturday, two men were shot on Fagan Street, one fatally.
There have been 22 shootings, with four fatalities, in Chattanooga so far this year, Chattanooga Times Free Press records show.Little girls should not have to be chased on our streets and shot by people with guns.
UPDATE (7/24/12): The shooting is thought to have been from a shootout between gangs. Keoshia is now 14 and is severely disabled by the shooting, requiring 24-hour care, diapers, feeding tube, and help with all basic activity. From a follow-up article:
Family members remain hopeful Keoshia will recover. In recent weeks, she has begun to jerk her arms and legs in movements, take deep labored breaths and make noises, which they believe is her attempting to speak.
"Every day, she'll try to do something. She'll move," Matthews said.
The teen's days are predictable; a 24-hour care schedule is posted on the wall. Her tracheal breathing tube is changed once a week. Her diaper is checked six times a day. She is repositioned every two hours -- right, left and back.
"She always was wanting to go places, and now I just see my child laying in bed," Matthews said as tears streamed down her face. "I'm used to her getting up and moving around. She never did want to stay still."
An assortment of cards wishing Keoshia well decorates the walls. A bronzed basketball trophy of a girl taking a jump shot still sits near the window. A recliner takes up space in the corner for the nurses, two of them, each working a 12-hour shift..