A resolute 6-year-old girl started her first day of school Tuesday, less than one month after she was shot in the head while playing outside her grandmother’s Chicago home, authorities said.
Little Zariah Muhammad was outside with her cousins, friends and her uncle playing with water balloons on August 11 when a gunman approached the group and opened fire, loved ones said.
A bullet hit the little girl in the head and fractured her skull, relative Lanetta Hoover-Muhammad said on a GoFundMe page created to offset medical costs.
She was rushed to Comers Children’s Hospital, where she underwent surgery to have the bullet removed.
Her uncle, 22-year-old David Mcray, who police reportedly believe was the intended target, died after being shot in the chest.
The shooter reportedly remains at large.
“This has been a very emotional time [for] Zariah and her family but through it all, she has kept a beautiful bright smile on her face for her mother, big sister and the rest of her devoted family,” Hoover-Muhammad said.
Showing an unwavering strength beyond her six years, Zariah returned home from the hospital only days later, ready to enjoy the rest of the summer and prepare for first grade, according to reports.
“Her joy and her spirit is keeping me balanced," said her mother Gloria Muhammad told ABC station WLS at the time. "The hard part is not over yet. The hard part is going to this funeral and her seeing her uncle actually laying there."
Zariah returned to Woodlawn Elementary School on Tuesday, where she wants to improve her reading and get ahead in math — all in an effort to work toward her dreams of becoming a doctor, “because they help people get better," she told WLS.