A 14-year-old Maryland girl spoke from her hospital bed Friday, a week after she became the unintended target of an alleged drive-by shooting at an apartment complex.
“There were 36 bullets and I was only shot once,” Valeria, 14, told FOX 5 DC in a phone call about the shooting that happened in New Carrollton, Maryland, while she would outside an apartment with a friend after school.
“The word needs to come out from a teenager, as a 14-year-old, kids need to enjoy their time with their family members and their cousins because you never know how long it lasts because I almost lost my life,” she said.
Doctors said Valeria has bone fragments lodged in her brain along with brain bleeding and can’t stand on her own, according to FOX 5.
She is listed in stable condition.
“When I got there the police didn’t let me go close to her, and I say ‘They kill my baby, they kill my baby!’” Valeria’s mother, Mirna Bonilla, said.
Bonilla said she was five minutes away from picking her daughter up when she got the call that she had been shot.
Witnesses told the family a teenager wearing a ski mask had started shooting at a crowd outside the complex while driving down the street.
“What we understood it as it’s just a problem between apartment complexes now, so I don’t know if that means now there’s gangs in each individual apartment complexes, I’m not sure,” Valeria’s sister, Stephanie Nunez, said. “I don’t know if this was gang-related or just plain old violence.”
Valeria faces a long recovery that could take months or years, but her family is just grateful she’s still alive.
“I thought I knew pain, but it’s nothing compared to when you think you’re going to have to bury your 14-year-old sister,” Nunez added. “For two days we almost lost her twice.”
Nunez said Valeria is starting to have nightmares and night terrors about the shooting and because it’s a traumatic brain injury, “it is going to take some time to find out if she will have any long-term consequences from this injury,” Nunez said.
“She’s still here,” Nunez added, “and we know that for a lot of parents that’s not the case.”
The Prince George’s County Police Department told FOX 5 the investigation is active, and no arrests have yet been made.
The family is calling on witnesses to come forward.