gun violence

Shattered by a Stray Bullet, This 11-Year-Old Vows to Walk Again

The 11-year-old was left unable to walk after a stray bullet struck him as he walked home from school in November

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Semaj O’Branty has dreams like any other kid. But for him it all starts with walking again.

The 11-year old just returned home two days ago, after more than three months in the hospital and rehab.

“I’m able to stand by myself, but I can’t walk now," he said Friday night.

The fifth grader’s world was shattered on a routine walk home from school in November 2019. A gunman drove up in a car, and fired off a bunch of shots along a Frankford street. Semaj was caught in the crossfire.

Now, he’s trying to learn how to talk and walk again, while the shooter remains on the run.

"I used to cry all the time, but not in front of him. But I used to go to the bathroom and pray and cry all the time. It’s sad for a little kid to hurt like that and not know what’s going on," Semaj's mom, Anita Williams, said.

Semaj attacks every day with the spirit of a fighter. His family believes it’s only a matter of when — not if — he will walk. He can’t wait for that day.

“I can run with my friends and play football with my friends," Semaj said thinking of a day in the future.

There is sadness and anger about the shooting, and still many questions, but the focus quickly turns to the young boy in the wheelchair.

"My son is the lucky one. He’s still here. He couldn’t be here. He could have died," Williams said.

Grateful he’s here, and strong in the belief he will walk again.

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