Semaje O’Branty is a clever 10-year-old boy who loves football, his father said.
He was walking home from school Nov. 6 when he was hit in the back of the head by a stray bullet in Frankford.
On Friday, more than two weeks after the shooting, Semaje opened his eyes for the first time in his bed at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, his dad, Aaron O’Branty, said. Semaje has also been responsive to prompts, such as when O’Branty asked his son to stick his tongue out.
Though it’s good news, Semaje still has a long road ahead, filled with rehabilitation for the brain injury he suffered as a result of the shooting.
“We just want Semaje back,” he added.
The situation has been hard on the family, especially Semaje’s twin sister, Samiyah.
“Every day she asks me about him,” O’Branty said.
The only person who has been arrested in the case is O’Branty’s younger brother, Ernest Richardson, who has been charged with weapons violations. Police say he shot at the car after someone inside fired the bullet that hit Semaje.
Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum, of Northeast Detectives, said police continue to search for the car, a red Pontiac G-6. Two detectives have been investigating the shooting non-stop, he said.
“The main sticking point in the investigation is that car,” Rosenbaum said. “I think that’s going to be the key to the puzzle.”
Semaje, a student at James J. Sullivan School, was on his way home at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, when shots were fired from a car near a corner store at Torresdale Avenue and Margaret Street.
The boy lives just steps away from the store, on the 4600 block of Torresdale.
Investigators believe the shooter was aiming for a group of men on the corner.
O’Branty said he went into the store just a minute or two before the gunfire. He saw Semaje and asked where his sisters were before going inside.
Once he heard the shots, O’Branty raced out and saw Semaje on the ground. Everything after that is a blur, O’Branty said.
Anyone with information related to the case is asked to contact Northeast Detectives at 215-686-3153/3154. Tips will be confidential. ••