KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When Chyesha Smith was hit in the foot by a stray bullet Wednesday night, she didn’t even realize it, she said.
Chyesha’s adrenaline was high, her mom Terry recalled.
“At first I didn’t feel it,” Chyesha said. “Then soon I started feeling the pain. I started crying.”
Chyesha, 12, remembers everyone crying, she said. Her side of the block on Ogden Avenue was filled with kids playing on the sidewalk when the shots rang out at 9 p.m.
“It was broad daylight,” Terry said. “My brother was on the porch and we heard shots and my cousin was like ‘those are not fireworks.’”
Terry said when she walked outside of her house she saw her neighbor’s 5-year-old granddaughter lying on the ground. She too had been hit by a stray bullet. So, she grabbed her and sought help.
“She went to the hospital. She was so traumatized. That was horrible. She was so traumatized,” Terry said. “She didn’t have to have surgery. They just put a splint on her feet but she got out the hospital last night. She’s doing better.”
Kalamazoo Public Safety stated in a press release that the girls were the victims of a ‘rolling gun battle’ between two vehicles on Douglas Avenue, near the Ogden intersection.
“What are you doing?” Terry said in anger regarding the suspects. “Why are you shooting at innocent young kids that’s going to be traumatized for we don’t even know how long ‘cause now they're going to be scared to even come outside. This is crazy.”
The shooting that injured the two girls was one of the three different shootings Wednesday night and several this week.
Terry said she appreciates everything the Kalamazoo police are doing. They were immediately on-scene Wednesday night and they met with her again Thursday morning.
“We need the police,” Terry said. “We do.”
Police also released surveillance pictures of the vehicles they’re looking for. Both vehicles are black and one appears to be an SUV.
They’re looking for the suspects and Terry hopes they’re caught soon, she said.
“We're in the middle of a movement and this is what we're doing now. This is crazy to me,” Terry said. “It’s just sad this is what’s happening now, that they’re not respecting what us as a people and all people are trying to do.”