Eight-year-old D.J. Maiden was playing outside with friends outside his apartment complex when he was shot in the face on Sep. 3, just days after his birthday. After spending some time in a medically-induced coma, Maiden is finally getting a chance to come to terms with his injury.
"He don't want the kids to look at his face," said his grandmother, Sharon Locklin. "He says, 'I look like a monster, granny.' I'm like, 'No, you don't.'"
Brian Colinger, 46, is the only suspect in the shooting. No one knows why Colinger shot Maiden, though witnesses did say he was waving a gun around before shooting.
He is charged with felony injury to a child and is being held on bail for $2 million. As a first-degree felony, Colinger’s charge could impose a sentence of anywhere between five to 99 years. Maiden’s family believes the charge is not harsh enough, but prosecutors insist that the charge is appropriate.
"The prosecutors go for the appropriate punishment to keep a dangerous criminal off the streets," the District Attorney's office said. "We go for stiffer punishment, especially when a kid is involved."
Maiden is now conscious and has resumed schoolwork, though he can only speak using a tracheostomy tube due to his injury. He is still in the hospital, and awaits more surgery.
"He hates the hospital,” Locklin said. "He’s striving to come home because he wants to be home for Halloween."
Maiden’s family is trying to raise money for his medical expenses. You can donate to the cause at GiveForward.com.