More than a month after being shot in the head while walking home from school in Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia, 10-year-old Semaj O’Branty is finally awake.
Information from close family friends said that Semaj had opened his eyes three days ago but fully regained consciousness on Friday, Dec. 13. He can only move the left side of his body. He can’t talk and has not been told what happened to him.
“He knows who everybody is in the room. He’s using hand signals so that’s exciting,” Cheri Honkala, a close family friend said.
The tragedy occurred on Nov. 6 during a shooting when drug deal went south on the 2200 block of Margaret Street in Frankford.
Semaij was an innocent bystander and had been in a coma since that afternoon, according to CBS Philly.
“We were very afraid that he would not wake up,” Honkala said. “Today was like the best Christmas miracle that anybody could ask to have happened. That 10-year old boy woke up.”
Semaij will remain in the hospital for the next 11 weeks at the minimum and will then have to continue rehab for the near future.
Last month’s shooting made Semaij unwillingly become a symbol of the epidemic of children and gun violence when he was caught in the crossfire. He is one of at least 110 children and teenagers injured or killed by gun violence this year alone in Philadelphia.
Still, no arrests have been made in the shooting.
For the boy’s family, it was an early Christmas miracle after a painful month, and they were deeply grateful.
“Like many of the other parents in Philadelphia this last year, where they have had to prepare to have their first Christmas without somebody they love. We don’t at all take that lightly,” Honkala said. “We’re not having to deal with a funeral, we’re having to deal with being joyful for the holidays that he’s alive.”