Jamaica: Baby survives to see first birthday after shot in the head

Javier’s parents Cha-Ann and Javar Wilson are ecstatic that their son, who was shot in the head six months ago, is one year old today.

(Jamaica Observer) In May this year when six-month-old Javier Wilson was shot in the head by callous gunmen, his parents were distraught by the experience. However, they remained optimistic that he would survive.

Today, they are most ecstatic as Javier is celebrating his first birthday.

“Sometimes in life we wait to see water get turn into wine, and not look at the simple miracle that happen in our lives on a day-to-day basis,” the boy’s father, Javar Wilson, reasoned on Sunday when the Jamaica Observer visited their home in Kingston.

“He is a blessing. Each time I look at him I look at what God is able to do; so whenever I buck up on any situation that seems big, that seems strong, that seems like it is going to overpower me, I can just look at Javier to say that God is still a good God, that He did it already, and He will do it again,” Wilson said.

A day before Jamaica observed Labour Day, Wilson dropped off Javier at his grandmother’s house on Ramsay Road off Maxfield Avenue. Shortly after, gunshots echoed through the community during a feud between Sunlight Street, Zimbabwe, and Ramsay Road gangsters.

Twenty minutes after the smoke cleared, Wilson, who was on his way to work, was summoned back to the troubled Kingston community where he was born and raised.

Wilson wept as he stood on Hope Street, metres away from where his son, mother, and a man were shot by the gunmen.

The Kingston Western police told the Observer then that the shooting was a result of a gang feud in the area.

The police had reported that men who were travelling in a white Nissan Tiida motor car alighted from the vehicle and fired gunshots. The injured were taken to Kingston Public Hospital (KPH). The baby was later transferred to Bustamante Hospital for Children and was admitted for three weeks.

When the Observer visited the community at the time, angry residents claimed the police were not doing enough, while others wept. Some residents later blocked a section of Maxfield Avenue to protest against the shooting.

The Wilsons, both devout Christians, were not thinking about revenge after the shooting took place. They had remained optimistic throughout the last six months. And each week when the Observer called to find out how they were doing, Wilson would state that everything was going well and expressed his gratitude.

On Sunday, the baby showed no sign of being inhibited by the fragments of the bullet that are still in his head and neck, nor the damage to two fingers on his right hand. He walked about the house, removed his toys from an entertainment centre, climbed onto the sofa, played with his seven-year-old brother Dur-Anthony and, of course, wanted to help daddy.

“It was very tough managing, being at home and tending to Dur-Anthony, who is our older son, and doing other things that I am responsible for,” Wilson reflected. “It was very tough. But for the three weeks he was in hospital it was good; he was conscious for all three weeks and that was also good indication. The doctors were well-trained and really attended to us very well at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.”

His 27-year-old wife, Cha-Ann, was already at work when she was contacted by her best friend who told her to call her husband.

The mother of two said she thought her husband had called to tell her how much he loved her, something he does every day. But when he asked her if she was sitting down she knew something was wrong.

After hearing what had happened, she rushed to KPH. On her arrival, she said she was greeted by her mother-in-law, who did not realise that she, too, was shot.

She said her mother-in-law apologised. “She was so strong. For a woman to run with a baby to a different community because she couldn’t get any taxi where she would normally get it, she had to go up the road and that’s where she got the taxi and rushed down there [KPH],” Mrs Wilson said.

The grandmother is slated to undergo surgery to remove a bullet from her body.

Mrs Wilson said when she went inside the hospital and got to the room where Javier had been placed, the tinted windows made her curious.

“When I went closer to the door, I saw that his body was wrapped up, but I never saw that his face and his chest were out. I just saw the white sheet so I thought he was dead. I wanted to turn away, but the nurse called me and said, ‘Come, mommy, no man, come and look at your baby.’ That’s when I saw him. In that room, at that moment, I was not crying because he was shot, I was crying because God came through for me when I needed Him the most,” she said, adding that when her son regained consciousness he was in a lot of pain.

“When he saw me he was saying, ‘Hmm, hmm’, but I understood what he was trying to say. He was saying ‘Mommy, I need you right now.’ I was speaking purpose over his life and telling him that he was going to live. You are going to come and minister to people that this happened. It was heartbreaking, but I learnt that God was and is possible,” she said.

Prior to the shooting, the 26-year-old father, along with members of his church, were working with the community.

“For a period I thought that we lived in a bad community, then it really came to me that we don’t live in a bad community (Maxfield Avenue). I really thought it was a bad community because, how could you shoot a grandmother and a six-month-old child,” the father reasoned on Sunday.

“What really came to me is the fact that we live in a community where some young men are hell-bent on being like their fathers, and some mothers, grandmothers and aunts are hell-bent on supporting these young men. And it really came to me that if our country is serious about crime we will have to try to have intervention for these young men, especially those whose fathers are behind bars, young men whose fathers have been killed by the police, young men whose fathers are wanted, so that we can change the next generation,” he said.

At the time of the shooting, the father had stated that whoever shot his mother and his son must have been taught by him at some point in time.

On Sunday, he told the Observer that he has tried his best to have homework programmes to add value to the community, and that he was involved in hosting a retreat in October with a number of youth from the area.

The wall art above the entertainment centre in the Wilsons’ living room bear the words ‘Love, hope, faith, dream, believe, and imagine’.

However, the father admitted that, despite his faith, he was unable to hold back the tears that flowed every night following the attack.

The police have not yet made an arrest in connection with the shooting.

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