The 15-year-old girl who had to undergo emergency brain surgery after being struck in the head by a stray bullet doesn't want anything for Christmas but her family.
After a valiant battle for her life, Vada Vasquez is just happy to be home. She still struggles with her speech and wears a cap to cover the part of her skull that has no flesh, but she was smiling and playing guitar in her first interview since the shooting.
"I never thought that I'd actually come back home," a joyful Vada told the Daily News yesterday as she sat in the living room with her mother. "I didn't think I was ever going to see my mom and my sisters again. I'm so happy I'm finally better. I feel blessed."
Vasquez and a friend got caught in the line of fire between a baby-faced shooter and his intended target as the girls were walking home from their Bronx school on Nov. 16. Vada was shot in the head and fell to the ground, blood pooling around her on the pavement. The teen spent the next few days in a coma, clinging to life on a respirator, her mother sitting vigil by her bedside.
Miraculously, the vibrant young woman has made significant progress in her recovery a month after the gratuitous violence nearly claimed her life. While she still has trouble expressing herself, Vada told the News she expected to be herself again in no time.
"I know I'm going to be like I used to be," a determined Vada told the paper. "I just know."
The five young men who were arrested in connection with the shooting have been indicted on charges of attempted murder, the Bronx District Attorney’s office announced.
A grand jury charged defendants Dwayne Taylor, 23, Cleve Smith, 20, Clivie Smith, 19, Rohan Francis, 18 and Carvette Gentles, 16, each with two counts of attempted murder in the second degree, two counts of assault, two counts of gang assault and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.
The attempted murder and assault charges carry a maximum penalty of up to 25 years in prison each.