‘I wasn’t fast enough mommy,’ girl told mom after playground shooting
Katherine DeClerq, CP24.com
Published Friday, July 13, 2018 8:12PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2018 8:31PM EDT
The mother of three girls who were shot at a playground in Scarborough last month says one of her daughters lamented not being fast enough to dodge the bullets coming at her and her sisters.
The mother, who did not wish to be identified, said she fainted when she saw her kids lying on the ground that day.
She remembers jumping in the ambulance with her five-year-old daughter, who was shot in the stomach. The child was screaming and repeatedly asking if she was going to die.
“That’s all she kept saying to me,” she said. “And I said no, you’re not going to die.”
In an exclusive interview with CTV News Toronto, the mother recalled the moment her neighbour rang her doorbell and said her children had been shot.
“I saw it on her face,” she said. “I dropped and passed out myself because it’s shocking when you see something like that.”
The woman’s three children, ages five, seven and nine, were enjoying some fresh air near the playground on Alton Towers Circle, in the area of McCowan Road and McNicoll Avenue, on June 14 when gunshots rang out.
Police said three suspects arrived in the area in a rented vehicle, and two of them got out and started firing in the direction of a man, who was at the park with his young child.
The nine-year-old was hit in her right leg and the seven-year-old was grazed on her head by a bullet. There were as many as 11 children in and around the playground at the time shots rang out, the mother said.
She said one of her daughters thought the popping sound was fireworks. When she realized it wasn’t, she tried to run as fast as she could to “dodge the bullet.”
The girl later told her mother “I wasn’t fast enough, mommy, I wasn’t fast enough.”
The five-year-old girl who was shot in the stomach underwent an eight-hour surgery and now has a tube in her stomach and a scar along her chest.
“I couldn’t help her. I couldn’t take away her pain. I couldn’t take out the bullet. I couldn’t – I don’t even imagine what she was going through at such a small age to take a bullet,” the mother said. “They did a lot of damage to my daughter’s stomach long-term. We don’t even know if she can even have kids.”
The woman says her children have nightmares and at least one of her daughters doesn’t want to leave her mother’s side. The children demand their mother be near them even when they go to the bathroom.
“They don’t want to leave my side, any of them.”
The playground that used to be crowded during the summer months is completely empty. Most children don’t want to go to the park and for the ones who do, parents won’t let them. The shooting, the mother said, has ruined their summer.
“It’s changed everybody’s life,” she said. “It was scary … I don’t know what would happen and if I was to lose my daughter, I wouldn’t be able to take it.”
The woman is urging the people involved, including the intended target of the shooting, to turn themselves into the police.
“He is a no-good scum. He is a loser,” the mother said of the intended target of the shooting. “It has nothing to do with my family. It has nothing to do with me. They were targeting a fool that was in the park ... He should smarten up and change his life and dedicate his life to God, really and truthfully. Because he put my kids at risk.”
“He should not have been here. He should not have been anywhere around these kids.”
A suspect police have identified as 21-year-old Sheldon Eriya has been arrested in connection with the shooting. Investigators are still searching for two other suspects, who they have identified as Tarrick Rhoden, 23, and T’Quan Robertson, 23.
Police are also searching for the intended target of the shooting.
“He should go to the police and profess what he knows,” the mother said. “He didn’t have to bring this to my complex or my neighbourhood or my community, to turn the whole community upside-down. He shouldn’t have been here.”
Understandably, the five-year-old girl still cannot fathom why she was shot.
“Why did you hurt me?” the youngest girl told a CTV News reporter on Friday, just after picking at a bandage that still covers the scar on her chest.
-- With files from CTV News Toronto's Tamara Cherry