Shot girl gets money from St James CorpSunday, December 05, 2021
BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Calyssa Walker, the 10-year-old girl shot and injured by gunmen during a daring daylight shootout in October, has received financial assistance of $250,000 from the St James Municipal Corporation.
Calyssa was one of five bystanders injured during the incident on McCatty Street in this western city on October 6. Three men were also killed during the attack.
The girl, a student of the Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, has lost hearing in her left ear after being shot in the head. She now suffers from dizzy spells and needs help to walk.
Friday's donation will go towards the $7.8 million needed for cochlear implant surgery to restore her hearing, Mayor of Montego Bay Leeroy Williams said during a press briefing at the corporation's chamber.
“Once again crime has reared its ugly head. This young girl is a victim of the criminal elements that are causing [issues] in our society. This dastardly act has appealed to the compassionate and humanitarian spirit of the councillors, so we have decided to contribute towards this young girl's [medical] expenses,” said Williams.
The mayor, who presented the cheque to Calyssa's mother Kelly-Ann Reece, appealed to thugs to refrain from acts of violence plaguing the city of Montego Bay.
“As mayor, I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the criminals who are committing these dastardly acts, to give people the chance to move around and live their lives freely,” he said.
The child's mother was overwhelmed with gratitude for the “generous donation”.
“I want to say thank you very much for your generous donation. It is appreciated because we all want Calyssa to get well so she can be back in class,” Reece said.
Since the injury, Reece shared, Good Samaritans have stepped in from across the globe to offer financial help. But, she told journalists, with just $1 million in contributions so far, more money is needed.
“We have been getting support from people all over…but right now, we are still far off from where we need to be. The highest I have gotten, and it brought tears to my eyes, was from someone who donated $100,000 all at once and it is really appreciated,” said Reece.
She gave a tearful recount of the incident which has changed the lives of her family members.
“[We] left home to conduct some business in downtown Montego Bay. Upon entering McCatty Street, I heard the 'pow' sounds but they didn't sound like gunshots at first, they sounded like the Yeng Yeng bikes,” she said.
But, the mother of two said she was concerned at the loud and frightening sounds so she started to look at what was going on.
“I looked in the rearview mirror to see what was happening because the bus driver was like, 'How that sound like gunshot suh? A wah dat?'” said Reece.
“I saw people running out of the road and then I saw a vehicle overtaking and hitting other vehicles. The sounds were getting closer... and I remember holding my head down and telling Calyssa to [do the same] and hold onto her sister,” she continued.
“I told the driver that I got shot because something had slapped me behind my ears but when the vehicle stopped I wasn't even thinking about that. The only thing that was on my mind was my children's [well-being],” the mother said as she wiped tears.
The girl shared that it has been a traumatic experience for her. Though it has been seven weeks, Calyssa said, she still has a lot of questions surrounding that particular day.
“I have been really sad and I have a lot of questions. Everything has changed. Usually, when I am finished with school and mommy is cooking dinner, I would always walk my sister around the house but I can't do that anymore,” said the grade five student.
With the ambition to become a medical doctor, the child desperately needs to get surgery done, her mother said.
Donations may be made to Kelly-Ann Reece's Bank of Nova Scotia Sam Sharpe Square account – 1006493.