4-year-old recovering after gunshot wound to the head

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Inside University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, 4-year-old Jacele Johnson is ready to go home.

Her mother, Trenetta Gresham, spoke with reporters along with Johnson's doctors as the girl recovers from a gunshot wound to the head.

"She's talking, she knows everyone that's around, she's so alert - it's like she's trying to make herself better," Gresham said.

Johnson visited with therapy dogs Wednesday.

"There's amazing ability for kids to improve and get function back," said Dr. Rita Rossi-Foulkes, Comer pediatrician.

On Friday night Gresham was with her daughter and other relatives for a prom send-off party in West Englewood. Someone fired on the crowd. Johnson, her 17-year-old male cousin and a 15-year-old female party guest were struck.

"All I can think of is getting her out of the car and there's blood everywhere," Gresham said.

Johnson was in surgery at Comer within 30 minutes.

"It was a close call - not so much the bullet, which didn't penetrate that deeply into the brain - but the bone was actually penetrating and pushing on the brain and ruptured vessels," said Dr. Peter Warnke, Comer neurosurgeon. "To take all these bone fragments out as soon as possible is priority number one."

Each day the girl improves, although she cannot use her right hand. Her mother praises the hospital staff, police officers and a higher power for saving her daughter.

"If you never was a believer, now it is time to believe in God because the surgeons and the doctors saved her, but those are his angels," Gresham said.

And there's a mother's plea to the gunman, and to all young men of Chicago, to find another way to deal with conflict besides guns.

"Please, please, please, stop. Because I could be burying my daughter today instead of sitting here," Gresham said.

Johnson's family is from Minneapolis, where her family plans to return and find her a rehabilitation facility as soon as she is well enough to travel.

An $11,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the case.

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