BOSTON (CBS) – Friday night, January 11th, 13-year-old Gabriel Clarke was running late for choir practice at his Church. “I was just going to meet my mom and this happened,” Clarke said. Someone pulled up along Humboldt Avenue and Homestead Street and shot the 8th grader in the stomach.
“God, he stopped that bullet that was two centimeters away from my spine. It could’ve crippled me,” he told WBZ-TV in his first interview since the shooting. “I could’ve been probably dead but he stopped it.” Through tremendous pain, he’s made an incredible recovery and is looking forward to getting back to things that were normal before.
“Eat, that is one of them. Go to the gym, exercise and sleep because when I was at the hospital, it was hard for me to sleep because of the pain,” he said.
As a young boy, Gabriel’s mother Shirley read him a poem. After the shooting, those words, now written in his notebook, have a more powerful meaning. “He remembered the poem that I tried to teach him and he asked me about it and I gave it to him again,” Shirley Clarke said.
“It is called message to the youth,” Gabriel said as he read it out loud. “Youth man, it is time to take a stand and make yourself a man,” he read. “Your job is to build a better nation and create a better civilization.”
“He decided this is the message he wanted to give,” his mom said. “You can’t afford to live in sorrow. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, youth man, stand up and take your place,” Gabriel recited. “This poem means something to me. It means that I’m not going to let a bullet stop me from what I’m going to accomplish in life,” he said.
He hopes what happened to him, what changed his young life, can help others.
“To say to any young person out there who has been in similar situation that there is hope and they have a chance to make a difference in the world and they have a chance to be somebody in life even though this happened to them,” he explained.
And to criminals, like the person who shot him, he wants his story to have an impact. “There are a lot of people out there that do stuff like this and we can’t. I can’t get to all of them but just one person that we could touch to stay stop,” he said.
Gabriel says whatever happens to the person who shot him is in God’s hands. He does not hold a grudge. His faith is stronger, he said, and so is his determination not to let this tragedy define is life.
Police say this is still an active investigation, but so far, no arrests have been made.