Four plead guilty in 2009 shooting in Bronx that injured teen girl waiting for school bus

This article originally appeared in The Daily News.
BY NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, July 3, 2014, 11:00 PM
Vada Vasquez survived a bullet to the head in 2009. She’s now studying criminal justice at LaGuardia Community College.JAMES KEIVOM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWSVada Vasquez survived a bullet to the head in 2009. She’s now studying criminal justice at LaGuardia Community College.

Almost five years after she was shot in the head while waiting for a school bus, there’s justice for Vada Vasquez.

The final four defendants charged in the miracle teen’s shooting took guilty pleas in the Bronx this week.

Carvette (Zico) Gentles, Rohan (Santana) Francis, Clivie (Momo) Smith and Darrell (Dutch) Joe all copped to being involved in the 2009 Bronx shooting that left Vasquez’s life changed forever.

Prosecutors said the gang members were aiming for Tyrone Creighton, whose brother had a beef with Joe while they were both locked up in Rikers Island.

Carvette (Zico) Gentles and three others took guilty pleas in the 2009 gang-related shooting that injured a teen girl in the Bronx. Gentles was the shooter, prosecutors said.ANDREW THEODORAKIS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWSCarvette (Zico) Gentles and three others took guilty pleas in the 2009 gang-related shooting that injured a teen girl in the Bronx. Gentles was the shooter, prosecutors said.

At Joe’s direction, Francis, Smith and Gentles went after Creighton on Nov. 19, 2009. They chased him through Morrisania, and Gentles opened fire.

He hit his target twice, in the arm and chest.

A third shot missed, hitting Vasquez, then 15, in the head as she was trying to get home from Bronx Latin School. The bullet ripped through the left side of her skull.

Unable to move, she pleaded with a detective who rushed to her aid, “Don’t let me die.”

She spent a week in a coma, and was eventually able to return to school and graduate.

But “life for her will never be the same. She struggles now. She lost part of her brain,” her mom, Gemma Vasquez, said Friday.

Vada Vasquez, 19, told the Daily News, “I still can’t properly talk and think clearly.”

But she’s continuing to fight to reclaim her life.

She’s now studying criminal justice at LaGuardia Community College, and she’s hoping to join the NYPD.

Rohan (Santana) Francis faces 10 to 14 years behind bars for the shooting.ANDREW THEODORAKIS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWSRohan (Santana) Francis faces 10 to 14 years behind bars for the shooting.

“I was taken care of, and I want to do that for others. I want to give back to someone,” she said.

After her shooting, cops and prosecutors from the Bronx district attorney’s office teamed up to take down the members of the Bloods gang that were involved. In all, 38 gang members were arrested, and with this week’s guilty pleas, 38 have now been convicted.

Clivie (Momo) Smith also took a plea deal.ANDREW THEODORAKIS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWSClivie (Momo) Smith also took a plea deal.

Gentles, 20, is expected to get 15 years in prison when he’s sentenced in September, while his three cohorts made deals that will put them behind bars for 10 to 14 years.

Asked for her reaction to the pleas, Vada Vasquez said, “I can’t process it in my head. I just want to move on.”

Of the recent rise in gun violence across the city, she said, “I just think it’s unfortunate. I hope it gets fixed soon. I wouldn’t want anyone to be in the situation I was.”

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Author: sabrinacaserta

Sabrina Caserta, born and bred in Bronx, New York, is a freelance reporter whose work has appeared in the New York Daily News and Street Sense- a homeless-run street paper located in the District. As a member of Roger Williams University’s class of 2016, Sabrina studied Journalism and Political Science. This fueled her passion for social justice reporting, including issues of homelessness, institutionalized racism, poverty, education and the environment. She also served as the Project Director of the nation-brand initiative, The Re:Imagine Jamaica Project, and as a Resident Assistant for three years. As an avid reader, health enthusiast and travel addict, Sabrina enjoys yoga, cooking and writing in her spare time. She aspires to one day be an investigative journalist and travel the world. Twitter: @sabrinacaserta Email: sabcaserta AT gmail DOT com

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