NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An 11-year-old boy is finally back home after getting shot by a stray bullet.
Now, he’s talking about surviving gun violence and about finding forgiveness in his heart for the man who pulled the trigger.
He came walking out of the hospital with his mom dribbling a basketball.
Kalel Gardner found himself on the wrong end of a gun this weekend, through a potentially fatal combination of happenstance and random violence.
“You could’ve been killed,” CBS2’s Scott Rapoport said.
“When I got shot that’s what I was thinking. Oh snap, oh snap, I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die,” the 11-year-old said.
On Sunday, the little boy was splayed out on the floor of an East Harlem deli with a bullet in his leg.
Police believe the shot was fired by a wanton gunman caught on surveillance video firing wildly on the streets.
Police believe Kalel was not the intended target. He was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time all because he innocently went to the deli for a bag of chips.
“I feel God gave me a second chance,” Kalel said.
“The bullet could’ve had an artery and I wouldn’t be here right now.”
Kalel was still shocked over the shooting and his emotions toward the shooter.
“I’m mad but at the same time I feel forgiveness. It’s confusing. I feel forgiveness and I feel anger.”
The young boy gets to go home with his mother, to a shelter in the Bronx, where his father tells CBS2 stray bullets are not uncommon.
It’s a place where he says Kalel knows the possibility of gun violence is a part of his world every day.
“He knows mistakes happen. He knows what neighborhood he’s in,” Eddie Gardner said.
“I understand violence out here. It’s dangerous on the streets,” the boy added.
Fortunately, Kalel is ok. His parents describe the gunshot as a flesh wound. No permanent damage.
He walks without a limp but his smile is as bright as the sun. His mom however, worries about the wounds you don’t see – emotional scars – that take longer to heal.
“Just happy that he’s alive and well and that his injury isn’t worse,” Tatianna McLeod said.
According to the NYPD, Kalel is at least the 10th victim of a stray bullet shooting since the beginning of June. One may never walk again and another man was killed.
Kalel Gardner has dodged that bullet, but his alleged shooter is still out there.