Family of Montgomery teen paralyzed by stray bullet prays for miracle

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Marquisha Jones (Courtesy: Family Members) Marquisha Jones (Courtesy: Family Members)
Apartments struck in shooting (Source: WSFA 12 News) Apartments struck in shooting (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Shot of where the bullet went into the apartment where Marquisha Jones was watching TV (Source: WSFA 12 News) Shot of where the bullet went into the apartment where Marquisha Jones was watching TV (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Where the bullet pierced the entertainment center inside the apartment. It then struck Marquisha in the neck. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Where the bullet pierced the entertainment center inside the apartment. It then struck Marquisha in the neck. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

The family of a Montgomery teenager hopes the young girl will one day be able to walk again after a horrifying ordeal from gunfire. She is paralyzed after being struck by a stray bullet that came through the wall of an apartment where she was watching television. 

It happened Sunday around 1:30 AM on Moorcroft Drive, not far off of East South Boulevard. 

Marquisha Jones, 14, was visiting the home of her aunt, Jennifer Braswell, over the weekend. She was sitting in the living room with her mother, Lisa Fuller, when they heard gunshots outside. As they got up to run to the back of the apartment to hide, a bullet penetrated the wall and struck Marquisha, a student at Southlawn Middle School. 

"There was a shootout. We're not for sure where it started at. It came through the wall, through one of my pictures, through my entertainment center and hit Marquisha in her neck and left her in the hallway in a puddle of blood," Braswell said.

Braswell didn't hear the gunshots but she woke up to her sister-in-law screaming and found Marquisha on the floor. She was conscious and telling her mother and aunt that she couldn't breathe. 

The teen was rushed to Baptist Medical Center South and then airlifted to Children's Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of her injuries. She is paralyzed from the neck down, according to family members who are at her bedside. On Thursday, she received a feeding tube and breathing tube but her mother indicated by phone from the hospital that for right now, doctors do not plan to remove the bullet that's lodged in her spine. 

"It would do too much damage," Fuller said. 

Marquisha cannot speak due to the tubes in her throat but relatives indicated that she is blinking her eyes to answer "yes" and "no." They are hoping that the paralysis will not be permanent but the 14-year-old has a long road to recovery ahead of her. 

"We are praying that all of these procedures are successful and we hope that God can work a miracle," one relative said over the phone. 

"I hope she can walk again and live her regular life like she likes to do- walk, shop, cook, go places with her mom, cousins, friends. And she loves the skating rink," Braswell added. 

Family members also want the person responsible for the shooting that injured Marquisha to be caught. The Montgomery Police Department says the case is under investigation. A spokeswoman listed Marquisha's injuries as life-threatening. 

It's not clear if the gunfire was at all connected to a deadly shooting that happened hours earlier at an apartment complex across the street. 

Police were called to the Southmall Apartments Saturday night around 10:15 pm after receiving a report that a person had been shot during a burglary. Once there, they found the victim, Chauncey Jackson, 25. Jackson was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Michael Vickers, 28, turned himself in to police on Sunday in the case and he is charged with capital murder. Officials indicated that the shooting stemmed from an ongoing dispute. 

"It could have been retaliation shots from what happened over there. We don't know," Braswell said. 

Braswell says she is moving out of the apartment where her niece was shot after 11 years. Outside, her apartment and others are riddled with bullet holes. She says neighbors had bullets come into bedrooms in their units and even lodge into furniture. 

"I really can't sleep. I haven't been eating. My son doesn't sleep. He's up all night long and I asked him why he's not sleeping and he said he's worried about his cousin, Marquisha," she said. "I'm very afraid. I can't stand to come to this apartment. When I do, I come during the daytime and I'm out of here before it gets dark. Stop all of this violence! Because it's taking a lot of lives and impacting even more."

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey called the incident "upsetting" and issued a call to action in effort to combat crime. He said his office has stepped up prosecution and continues to fight for lengthy sentences but he says the fight against violence needs to be a continuous community-wide campaign. 

"We, as a community, cannot tolerate this violence. When our young people, our innocent young people like this 14 year old young lady, are getting shot and possibly paralyzed, we as a community have to stand up and say we're not going tolerate this anymore. We have to come together and demand that this stop. We need the community to get involved and help find the person responsible for this,"  he said.

The family has set up a gofundme account to help pay for Marquisha's medical expenses. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Central Alabama Crimestoppers at 215-STOP. 

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