As police continue to search for the gunman who shot an 8-year-old girl this weekend in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood, the child's mother says she wishes she was hit instead.
"I love my kids. I was praying to God that the bullet hit me, even if they lose their mother," said Sandra Pereira, whose daughter, Jakayla, was hit by stray gunfire early Sunday morning.
Pereira and two of her kids were visiting a friend Saturday night at the Hailey Apartments housing complex on Heath Street. When gunfire erupted, Pereira says she rushed to get the kids inside and sheild them with her own body.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Bullets struck the door, and it wasn't until they went inside and Jakayla sat down to watch a movie that she realized she had been it in the stomach and the shoulder.
The girl was rushed to Boston Medical Center. The bullet that struck her shoulder has not been removed.
"I can't believe I'm saying, 'I'm thankful my sister got shot in the shoulder and didn't die,'" said Jessica Pomales, the victim's sister. "I shouldn't have to say something like that."
Pomales is calling on witnesses to come forward with information.
"People in the neighborhood have to talk," she said.
Authorities say the motive of the shooting is still unknown, but 15 shell casings were found in the street.
While she is expected to recover, it is unclear how long the child will be in the hospital.
The shooting remains under investigation.