Teen declared ‘brain dead’ after being shot in the head by stray bullet

A teenager from Queens, who had aspirations of becoming a nurse, has been critically injured in a shooting incident, leaving her in a state defined as “brain dead” by her distressed father.

Sixteen-year-old Claudia Quaatey was sitting in an SUV near Locust Manor Park when gunfire broke out around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. A bullet struck Claudia in the head, plunging her into a medically induced coma, according to police reports on Thursday.

Authorities are currently exploring the connection, if any, between an earlier altercation Claudia was involved in at the playground and the subsequent shooting. Albert Quaatey, Claudia’s 65-year-old father, described his daughter as a peace-loving individual not usually drawn into fights.

Authorities have not provided the family with much information, except indicating that the incident seemed to be a heated confrontation. Albert, a construction worker from Ghana, continues to grapple with the harsh reality of his daughter’s condition while holding onto hope for her survival.

Claudia, known for her skill in braiding hair, was on her way to meet friends for just that purpose when the tragic incident occurred. She was in a Hyundai SUV, parked near PS 015 Jackie Robinson elementary school and close to the park when the shooting happened.

According to police sources, three gunmen unleashed a barrage of 9mm bullets in what is believed to be a gang-related dispute. The suspects then fled the scene.

Jillian McKoy, a teacher’s assistant who was present in the park during the incident, initially mistook the gunfire for fireworks. The reality of the situation dawned on her when she saw children fleeing in panic.

Claudia was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and later transferred to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where she remains comatose.

This incident contributes to an alarming increase in gun violence victims under 18 in New York City. NYPD data reveals that there were 153 underage shooting victims in 2021, up from 138 in the previous year. This figure is more than double the 75 recorded in 2017.