The mother of a 13-year-old boy who was shot over the weekend in Roxbury while he was walking to choir practice on Tuesday implored anyone responsible for the brazen attack to give themselves up.
“Turn yourself in,” said Shirley Clarke, the mother of Gabriel Clarke, who is recovering from his injuries at Boston Medical Center. “You have hurt an innocent child, and to avoid hurting others, stop and turn yourself in.”
Speaking in a soft, composed voice during an afternoon news conference at the hospital, Clarke said she bore no ill will toward the shooter.
“I would like that he’s caught, but I would like that he can get help,” Clarke said. “Because something has to be wrong with him to stop a child and shoot him like that.”
Clarke said that her son remembers a lot about the shooting, but she declined to share any details during the news conference.
“It’s sad, and it’s very bone-chilling,” she said.
Asked if Gabriel knew why someone would want to harm him, Clarke said, “No, he’s been asking why. ... He’s hurting, both physically and emotionally. At times he will break down, and he will cry, and he asks me ‘Why? Why?’ And when he asks me why, I want to cry. But I don’t want him to see me upset.”
Dr. Andrew Glantz, who operated on Gabriel, said the boy was awake and alert when he arrived in the emergency room after being shot in the abdomen on Friday night and started vomiting before he was rushed into surgery.
Glantz said Gabriel is expected to make a full recovery and has been up and walking.
“He’s a trouper,” said Glantz, adding that Gabriel could be released in the next few days.
Glantz said the bullet that struck the boy remains embedded in his back near his spine, and that his intestines were damaged in the shooting.
The doctor said Gabriel was helped by the fact that he was struck by a smaller-caliber bullet, perhaps a .22.
According to police, Gabriel was walking on Humboldt Avenue at about 7 p.m. Friday when a vehicle pulled up next to him and someone opened fire.
No arrests have been made, and police have not disclosed a possible motive for the attack.
Asked about the status of the case on Tuesday, a Boston police spokesman could only say that the investigation remains active.
Friends and family of Gabriel have described him as a quiet and friendly youth who is devoted to the Berea Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he sings tenor in the choir and serves as a junior deacon.
A hospital spokeswoman said Gabriel was listed in fair condition on Tuesday.
His mother said that while his recovery will be difficult and he is currently frightened, she expects that he will return to his normal routine.
“My message is ... Gabriel will be fine,” she said.
She also described her state of mind after receiving a call from police Friday night informing her that Gabriel had been shot.
“It’s like everything else, I couldn’t hear what else he was saying,” she said. “I broke down. Thank God I had the support” of everyone at her church, where she was when she took the call.
The church has scheduled a prayer meeting for Gabriel at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Gabriel didn’t deserve this,” his mother said on Tuesday. “The community didn’t deserve this. There’s been enough hurt, there’s been enough damage, there’s been enough suffering.”
As for the assailants, she reiterated several times that she is not angry at them.
“I just want them to think about what they’re doing,” she said. “Nobody deserves this. Nobody deserves to be shot down in the street.”