4-year-old Birmingham girl wants to know why she got shot: ‘It’s hard to explain to a kid,’ family says

By Carol Robinson

Serenity Spearman (Special to AL.com)

A 4-year-old girl shot while riding in a car with her aunt was left with a bullet two inches from her spine and three inches from her heart.

Serenity Spearman, affectionately called Ren-Ren, was injured Wednesday while sitting in a vehicle with her aunt. Police have arrested the alleged shooter.

On Friday, as the arrest was announced, Serenity was able to talk and to eat. And as she did so, she repeatedly asked her mother, Yakeia Bishop, one question over and over.

“She keeps asking about why she got shot,” Bishop said in an interview with AL.com. “She knows what happened.”

Sgt. Monica Law said the gunfire erupted about 8:30 p.m. in the Tom Brown Village public housing community on the side of Messer-Airport Highway.

Serenity’s aunt told police she and the child were sitting in the vehicle when she heard the shots ring out. Serenity then told her aunt she had been hit.

The car quickly got away, circled the block and stopped in the parking lot of Avondale Grocery & Deli. That’s where police and fire medics responded to help them.

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Birmingham police on the scene of a shooting that happened near Avondale Grocery and the Tom Brown public housing community. Carol Robinson

She was taken to Children’s of Alabama where she remains. Her mother said she received news of the shooting from Serenity’s father and social media.

“I was in shock,’’ she said.

Law said Shot Spotter picked up multiple shots fired.

Serenity was supposed to have surgery, but it has been repeatedly rescheduled.

“If you could see where the bullet hit, it’s truly a blessing,’’ said another aunt, Taraysha Woods.

The bullet is in her upper back.

Bishop, who also has a 1-month-old son, said Serenity started physical therapy on Friday and is happy to be up and around.

“She’s happy that she’s up and eating because she kept complaining that she’s hungry,’’ she said.

Bishop and Woods said they don’t have any answers for her when she asks about getting shot.

“You can see gun violence on TV,’’ Woods said. “You can hear about it, but it’s hard to explain to a kid.”

Serenity Spearman
Serenity Spearman (Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin)

Bishop agreed.

“Kids should be able to be kids,’’ Bishop said. “Everybody needs to put the guns down and handle things in a better way.”

Ronald Porter Jr., 21, of Fultondale, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle. His bond was set at $1 million.

“We do not need people like Ronald Porter Jr. on the streets of Birmingham,” Birmingham Police Chief Scott Thurmond said.

“As we’ve said before, the Birmingham Police Department will work hard to charge and arrest those causing violence in our city.”

Serenity’s family describes her as, “the light in the room, the life of the party.” She is expected to make a full recovery.

Still, the family said, the violence needs to stop.

“Before you pick up a gun and pull the trigger, think about all those around you,” Woods said. “It doesn’t only affect the person with the gun. It affects all of us.”