Shooting wounds student’s autumn plans

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Queens Village teenager and honors student Cherae Hendy had her summer all mapped out and was looking forward to her family’s vacation in Ocean City, Md., but a random act of violence changed her plans.

Cherae, 13, was shot in her left ankle Aug. 17 near her Queens Village home as she and her brother, Peter, 21, went to pick up one of her friends for a sleepover. On their way they encountered two gangs of men headed for one another. The two Hendys started to cross Hempstead Avenue near 219th Street in Queens Village in an effort to get away before she was hit.

Detectives from the 105th Precinct Aug. 29 arrested Darrin Wilkerson, 22, of 221-11 106th Ave. in Queens Village and charged him with assault during what was described as “a dispute with several unidentified individuals,” police said.

“We were just walking across the street because my brother thought the two groups were suspicious,” recalled Cherae, an eighth-grade honors student at MS 172 in Floral Park, who hopes to attend either the Dalton School in Manhattan or the Madeira School in McLean, Va. on scholarship through the Albert I. Oliver program.

Evelyn Hendy, Cherae’s mother, said her children told her they had seen the two groups fighting. She said her son urged Cherae to hurry up and cross the street and after a fight broke out, gunshots rang out in the street. At that instant, she said, everyone on the street started to run.

Charae said she and her brother ran around different sides of a car to escape the commotion. “I fell and did not think I got shot,” she said.

The teen said she managed to get back onto her feet and thought somebody had pushed her during the commotion. After a few steps she fell again and her foot began to get numb. Cherae said she looked down at her foot and after seeing blood everywhere, she screamed.

“I was in another world,” she said. “I thought I was dreaming and I wanted to wake up. It slowly kicked in at the hospital and that is when I got emotional.”

The bullet, which entered through the inside of her ankle, is still lodged in the bone. Doctors have to wait until the wound heals before they can put a cast on Cherae’s foot to repair the broken ankle. Then they can perform surgery to remove the bullet.

“I was surprised something like that happened so close to home,” said Evelyn Hendy. “I was devastated and still shaking. My daughter has a long way to go.”

For the next few months Cherae will be trapped inside her home trying not to aggravate the injury. She said she would like to go back to school because it is “depressing” sitting on the couch.

The family had planned to spend a week in Ocean City and then the Labor Day weekend in Greenbelt, Md., where they lived before moving to Queens. Her mother said her daughter has not been able to have any fun and had to forgo many plans with her friends.

“Now I have to stay on the couch or in bed,” Cherae said. “I start to feel sorry for myself and ask why did this happen to me.”

She said she would like some of her friends to stop by and spend some time with her, but they apparently are afraid to visit because of the shooting. She said they think this happens all the time. “It does not,” she said.

Cherae’s biggest concerns at the moment are getting back to school, participating in student government, attending band practice — she plays the alto sax — and rejoining the cheerleading squad.

Her brother said the incident happened so fast that his only concern was the safety and well-being of his younger sister. She was so “brave and poised,” Peter Hendy said, that she was the one who called 911.

Cherae said that once her ordeal is over, she wants to thank the man who wrapped a T-shirt around her leg and the nurse who helped them. She had nothing but praise for the 105th Precinct.

“Officer Mark McCallan stayed with me throughout the night at Mary Immaculate Hospital,” she said. “He had me laughing and in the ambulance he kept me happy.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:23 pm, October 10, 2011
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