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4-year-old shooting victim could begin rehab within a week

Four-year-old shooting victim Jacele Johnson is expected to begin rehab within a week. | Provided photo

Men and women in surgical scrubs hovered over 4-year-old Jacele Johnson in the emergency room, but it must have been angels that saved

the little girl with the bullet in her brain, her mother said Wednesday.

“Imagine looking at your daughter, and you don’t know if this is the last time you’re going to see her,” said Trennetta Gresham, the girl’s mother, speaking to reporters at Comer Children’s Hospital, where the child was recovering Wednesday.

The University of Chicago neurosurgeon who worked on Jacele after she was shot in a drive-by shooting Friday night made no mention of angels, but Dr. Peter Warnke nevertheless said her resilience in surgery — the lack of swelling in the brain — was unexpected.

“Very surprisingly, her pressure was never high,” Warnke told reporters. “That was a very early prognosticator that the surgery would have a good outcome.”

In fact, Jacele is expected to begin rehab within a week, doctors said.

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Gresham, who is originally from the Lawndale neighborhood but has been living in Minnesota with her family, said she’d been making plans to move back to the South Side to start a business with her mother.

During the past two months, the unrelenting violence had persuaded her not to do so, but her family got caught up in it anyway. Gresham was visiting Jacele’s grandmother in the 7000 block of South Justine when the shooting happened about 8 pm Friday, the mother said.

Jacele’s 17­-year-­old cousin and a 15­-year­-old girl standing on a sidewalk nearby also were wounded in the shooting. No arrests have been made.

Gresham was at times overcome with emotion Wednesday as she praised the police who responded to the shooting and the “army” of medical staff who attended to her child, who spent about 40 minutes undergoing surgery.

Gresham described how she begged the police to help her save her daughter and how a Chicago Police sergeant got on his radio to make

sure the ambulance had a clear route to the hospital.

Gresham also issued a plea Wednesday: “Please, all my young black men — because they’re the ones that’s doing most of the killing — please, please, please stop because I could be burying my daughter today.”