NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A 10-year-old boy shot in the head earlier this month is back at home recovering after spending nearly two weeks in the hospital.
Witnesses describe the gun violence on June 6 at the Auburn Pointe Apartments as a “shootout” between an unknown number of gunmen. Police have yet to make an arrest.
Malachi Smith says he was outside with two friends tossing around a football when he heard the first two shots.
“We all got scared and we all looked at each other,” said Smith, who did not immediately run away.
“I came running and looked to see if everybody was OK, since I am a Boy Scout. I have to do my duty to protect people.”
His mom, Holly White, was inside her apartment celebrating her husband’s birthday when the shots started. Within seconds, she says she heard rapid gunfire and ran outside calling her son’s name.
“I was screaming for him, screaming for him. He’s not coming. He’s not answering. He’s not coming. I start panicking.”
White says she found Malachi slumped over with a gunshot wound to the head. She tried keeping him awake as he faded in and out of consciousness.
“I saw where he was at, scooped him up, sat down on the ground and held his head against my chest,” she said.
Malachi says he remembers part of the commotion.
“As soon as I woke up it was blurry; people surrounding me. They screamed my name. My sister said she loved me in case I passed away, but I didn’t. I tried to hold on as good as I could.”
Malachi spent more than a week in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. He was released June 18.
A brain scan shows the roughly three-inch crack in his skull. White says the bullet pushed a piece of his skull into his brain that cannot be removed.
Malachi is having some vision problems, but White says he’s otherwise on the road to a successful recovery. He’s currently in physical and occupational therapy.
“This whole process has been a miracle,” she said. “God has plans for this young man. I don’t know what it is, but I hope He continues to help me guide him in the path He wants.”
Malachi says he wants people to hear his plea to stop the violence in the community:
“I just want it to stop,” he said. “There’s no point to be shooting at people. There’s no point in doing it. If they did something bad to you, don’t do anything to them. Just ignore them. That’s what I do.”
Malachi says he has aspirations to be a professional football player in the NFL. Unfortunately, he is no longer able to participate in high impact sports.
White says she is planning to move from the Auburn Pointe Apartments, but she is thankful for her neighbors’ support since the shooting.
The Newport News Police Department says they have not yet identified any suspects. They’re asking anyone with information to call the Crimeline at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.