Gama Droiville clutched a NYPD stuffed bear to his chest and smiled. He was going home.
The 13-year-old left Kings County Hospital Center Tuesday afternoon with a clear, plastic eye patch and surrounded by family eight days after he was shot in the head by two stray bullets while walking down Flatbush Avenue with his aunt.
"I would like to say thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the prayers," said Gama. "And a special thank you to the NYPD for catching this guy."
Droiville, who lives in Flatbush, was an innocent bystander when he was shot twice in the head around noon on April 14 on Flatbush Avenue near Beverly Road, according to police.
It is unclear if Gama will ever see out of his right eye again. It is still very inflamed, said his doctor, Douglas Lazzaro, director of of ophthalmology at Kings County. "He's in the healing phase now," Lazzaro said. "It's a serious injury and time will tell."
Another man, Eduardo Dolphy, 24, was also shot in his leg and police said he may have been the intended target. He walked himself to the hospital, police said. Just four days after the shooting, police charged 21-year-old Kareem Potomont with 10 offenses, including two counts each of attempted murder in the second degree and assault. Potomont was arraigned on Friday evening and held on $200,000 bail, said a spokeswoman from the Brooklyn district attorney's office.
As for all the attention he's been getting, Gama said "it's great."
"I'll get back to my normal life," said the poised teenager, adding that he just wants "to make sure I'm OK before I do anything else. To make sure my eye is OK."
His uncle, Jimmy Marcel, was grateful for all the support the family has received. He said they got "special treatment" at the hospital -- including a visit from the church choir Gama belongs to.
"The tragedy is still there, but Gama is alive," he said. To his nephew he had these words: "The families love you."
The alleged shooter's attorney, Audrey Thomas, said Potomont was forced to leave high school in the eleventh grade due to gang pressure. He will not testify in front of the grand jury, she said.
"His story is also a sad story. My heart goes out to the family ... and Mr. Droiville, but in the same token Mr. Potomont is just a child," she said. "There are two very young lives on either side and this not a good story no matter how you look at it."
Brooklyn Council Member Mathieu Eugene, who's been working with the family, called Gama's release from the hospital "a wonderful day for the community."
"Violence destroys too many families, too many lives," he said. "He didn't do anything bad, wrong to deserve what he went through."
Eugene said he hopes this shooting sheds more light on the issue of gun violence and helps to make the city, and Brooklyn, a safer place to live.