An 11-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet as she walked out of her New York City home last month is slowly starting to show signs of recovery.
Tayloni Mazcyk has been recovering at New York Presbyterian Hospital and with the help of her nurses, sat up for the first time Thursday, the first glimmer of hope the girl may not be permanently paralyzed.
Tayloni, lovingly called Tutu by her parents, still has the bullet lodged in her spine. The girl was waiting for her aunt outside her Bedford-Stuyvesant home in Brooklyn the evening of Friday, May 31, when a gunman walking down the street opened fire at two men standing outside of another residence, police said.
A stray bullet pierced Tayloni's throat, ricocheting down her spine before lodging in her back.
Despite the pain, Tayloni is fighting to recover her mobility.
"It was very painful for her [to sit up] but she's trying so hard," said Priscilla Samuel, the girl's mother.
Samuel travels daily from Bedford-Stuyvesant to Washington Heights to be at her daughter's bedside. She said the girl has constant nightmares about the shooting.
"She doesn't want to come back to where we live, and she doesn't want to come outside anymore," said Samuel. "Why should she be afraid to come outside?"
The weekend Tayloni was shot was a violent one: 25 other people were also shot across the city. Bloomberg said at the time that despite the burst of violence, New York City has witnessed the least gun violence in a decade.
It did little to console Tayloni's mother and father, who are praying she will walk again.
"My baby is laying up in the bed with a gunshot wound to her neck, but there's no gun violence going on over here? Be real," said Samuel.
Tayloni, who had been scheduled to graduate from fifth grade at P.S. 44 this month, is soon expected to be moved to NYU Rusk Rehabilitation Center for long-term rehab. Tayloni's mother lost her job before her daughter was shot, and her father is struggling with a part-time job; both are worried about Tayloni's long-term care, given her prognosis.
In the meantime, the parents are hoping to see an end to the gun violence and said they want the mayoral candidates to present a plan to curb it.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the shooting.