Family bonding and fun memories were in the making on Friday night -- until the unthinkable happened. While an innocent 5-year-old boy was visiting his grandmother in Charleston, he was caught in the crossfire between two gunmen, a night that has forever changed his life.
Tyreek Gadsden and his grandmother, Derotha Jones, had just walked outside shortly past 9 p.m. ThePost & Courier report the two planned to make their way to another family member's home in order to prepare for a birthday party on Saturday. Tyreek and Derotha had only taken a few steps outside of her front door when two men emerged from the darkness in a full-blown shootout.
Derotha immediately felt the urgency to shield her precious grandchild, but the bullet was much faster than her reflexes, and Derotha was horrified when she saw blood flowing from Tyreek's shirt. He had been shot in the back.
Derotha described that moment to the Post & Courier.
"We walked into a gunfight. By the time I thought to shield my grandson, he was already hit... I seen blood in his shirt and a bullet wound in his back. I just started yelling, 'Somebody done shot my grandson.' "She tries to hold back the tears and be strong as she continues to describe the scene as it unfolded.
"He didn't even cry. He said, 'Granny, please help me. Please hold me.' "Live 5 News reports that Tyreek was rushed to MUSC Children's Hospital and listed in critical condition in ICU. The 5-year-old child had to undergo two intense surgeries, which involved repairing a place in his spine that was leaking fluid.
With his parents continuously by his side, Tyreek is recovering little by little with each day that passes. While he is currently out of ICU, the bullet remains lodged in his spine, which has left him paralyzed from the waist down.
In spite of what Tyreek has endured, his family reveals that he is in overall good spirits. The boy is keeping busy playing with toys and video games, such as Mario Kart.
Tyreek was not the only innocent bystander to get shot that night. A 20-year-old man was also shot in the leg, and has since been released from the hospital.
Police have made no arrests at this time, and in fact, have informed Live 5 News that they have no leads whatsoever and are in desperate need of help from the community to track down the gunmen.
Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen stated, "It is crucial that we identify this violent offender quickly before they can harm anyone else in our community."
[Photo Credit Live 5 News]