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Staten Island shows support for baby shot in eye

YACINE SIMPORÉ Special to the AmNews | 10/26/2011, 3:47 p.m.
"Miracle Baby" is Samyah Bailey's new nickname, and it really fits her. This 20-month-old baby...
Staten Island shows support for baby shot in eye

"Miracle Baby" is Samyah Bailey's new nickname, and it really fits her. This 20-month-old baby bravely fought for her life after she was shot a month ago.

A 9 mm bullet hit her in the eye while she was playing in her stroller with one of her relatives in a Staten Island playground. Immediately afterwards, she was transported to Richmond University Medical Center. Samyah had to go through three hard surgeries to survive, and doctors were forced to remove her left eye. Today, Samyah is recovering, getting better day after day. Her community continues to rally around her.

Michael Ryan, the Democratic candidate for Staten Island district attorney, says he "was touched when reading this news." Ryan also said, "All of Staten Island was shocked and touched by what's happened to this precious baby."

This incident, which has totally shaken this little girl's life forever, was caused by a group of young men involved in a gun battle.

So far, police have only one name: Damark King. This 19-year-old teen is suspected of having opened fired in the area where Samyah was playing, and he is now charged with assault, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of a firearm and reckless endangerment.

At only 19-years-old, King is facing his second charge of firing a gun in Staten Island. Police say that when King was 15, he shot a teen twice in the chest during an argument. Fortunately, the victim survived.

Today, King is facing at least 25 years in prison.

Enraged by this barbaric act, touched and feeling solidarity with the victim's family, members of the Staten Island community gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 18 for a great fundraising effort co-hosted and organized by Ryan. The purpose was to help the baby's family pay for her medical bills and living expenses.

The community, Ryan says, "agreed we had to act and help this family face all the financial difficulties triggered by the incident...When you seek good you receive good, this fundraising was a success."

The family received more than $4,000 on the same day, with donations still arriving. Additionally, the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation donated a prosthetic eye and the family found a local doctor who agreed to do the surgery for free.

City Councilwoman Debi Rose has also arranged for Samyah and her mother to be relocated far from Arlington Terrace, where the baby was shot.

Samyah is one more victim of gun violence. "This has to stop," Ryan said. "We have to [reach out] within the community. The district must actively investigate the gun rings and put an end to them."