Cleveland, OH. - Alaya Brown shot in the head six years ago, and the family is seeking answers. At the time, Alaya was two-years-old. According to Alaya's uncle, her mother held her while talking to a young man in a car; another driver approached the area. The drivers exchanged words. Immediately afterward, gunfire erupted. A bullet grazed Alaya's mother, and Alaya was wounded. "Daily, my niece is fighting for her life," said the uncle, who wished not to give his name.
"I remember that day as if it was yesterday. This incident took place during the Republican National Convention. The police were downtown. No one was concerned about our neighborhood. I watched this guy pull up. He pointed his gun at my sister and niece and pulled the trigger. My niece got shot in the head. It was devastating. We saw blood gushing everywhere. We called EMS and the police. It took them about an hour to respond. As we tried to take her (ourselves to the hospital), the police and EMS arrived. People are dying daily because the response time from EMS and the police are slow," stated the uncle.
According to news reports by Cleveland.com, Alaya underwent brain surgery at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. "We found out that the bullet damaged Alaya's skull. The right side of Alaya's brain is dead, and she is blind in one eye," said the uncle.
Six years later, Mr. Brown and his family remember the day Alaya's life changed on July 16, 2016. On E.146th street in the Lee/Harvard Community, the family decorated their cars with photos of Alaya. Children gathered to give tribute and honor Alaya. "That day was horrible. The guy who shot my sister and niece did it on purpose. We don't know why he did it, but he did. We never got an answer. As he drove away, he was smiling," the uncle sadly stated.
Mr. Brown, Alaya's father, held his 8-year-old daughter in his arms during the tribute. Alaya was sleeping. "I am happy that we have her. Guns are not the answer. Innocent people and children get injured and killed," said Mr. Brown.
As family members gathered to love on Alaya, they reminded the community of the results of gun violence. "Put the guns down. Stop the violence. It's not worth losing your freedom. People are destroying families due to someone else's actions," said the uncle.
Cleveland 19 News sources reported that JeJuan Burns was arrested and charged two weeks later. He was hiding in Canton, OH.
Lee/Harvard is in the City of Cleveland Ward One community.