Paralyzed shooting victim Tayloni Mazyck takes her first trip outside with her parentsTayloni Mazyck, the 11-year-old who was shot in May, ventures outdoors with her family for the first time since a bullet allegedly fired by a 17-year-old struck her in the chin, lodging in her spine and leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Pricilla Samuels (l.) and Robert Mazyck stand next to their smiling daughter Tayloni.
The mere mention of gunfire erupting on the streets of Brooklyn prompted tears to cascade down the cheeks of Tayloni Mazyck — an 11-year-old who knows all too well the pain of such violence.
Her tears dripped onto her gray Gap sweatshirt as she sat in a motorized wheelchair Monday, still paralyzed from the waist down.
Less than 24 hours after another child was gunned down in Brooklyn, Tayloni couldn’t bring herself to speak of the bullet that's lodged in her spine, allegedly fired by a 17-year-old punk aiming at a rival gangbanger.
Tayloni, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and now 16-month-old Antiq Hennis of Brownsville are the tragic bookends of a summer of violence, both caught in the crossfire of street madness.
The only difference is that Tayloni ended up in a wheelchair and little Antiq, who was just learning to walk, ended up dead.
“I didn’t lose a child, but I did lose a part of me,” Tayloni’s mother, Priscilla Samuel, 46, told the Daily News on Monday, responding to the death of Antiq.
Tayloni on Monday ventured outdoors, with her parents, for the first time since May 31, the day her life was altered forever.
The skies were cloudy, but the excursion outside Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine on E. 34th St. was a bright milestone in her recovery.
“It was hot,” Tayloni told The News after returning to her institute room, having maneuvered her wheelchair up and down nearby Second Ave. under the watchful eyes of her nurses. “And there were cars speeding up and down the street.”
Referring to her motorized wheelchair, she lamented, “To me, this is for lazy people.” Doctors are hoping she regains the strength to operate a manual version on her own.
Explaining her daily routine, she said, “I ain’t got no choice but to wake up.”
“I wake up at 6 to take a shower,” she said. “They make me sit up at the side of the bed. They make me stand at the tilt table. They help me use the wheelchair by myself.”
Tayloni may have been robbed of her innocence on that fateful evening in May, but she hasn’t lost the zeal of being a child.
Her favorite TV shows are “A.N.T. Farm” and “Jessie” on the Disney Channel, and she says she likes getting her hair braided and keeping her fingernails painted and polished. She proudly showed off one of the bracelets she crocheted out of yarn.
“I like chicken and broccoli,” she said of the takeout food from a nearby Chinese restaurant. “That’s the only time I eat broccoli.”
She can’t wait until she can visit the Disney Store or Toys “R” Us in Times Square, and she dreams of the day she’ll go to a Six Flags amusement park.
Her father, Robert Mazyck, marveled at how far she’s come.
“When they first brought her here, you couldn’t touch her left side because of the pain,” he said. “But where she is now is a blessing.”
Tayloni was sitting in front of her Gates Ave. home with her mother and 7-month-old niece on the tragic evening. She was excited about graduating from fifth grade at Public School 44 and spending the summer at a Fresh Air camp near Boston.
Cops said Kane Cooper, looking to settle a beef with a rival gang member, fired the errant 9-mm. bullet that pierced Tayloni’s chin and embedded in her spine.
In the days following her shooting, Mayor Bloomberg vowed to Tayloni’s father that he would do everything in his power to end senseless gun violence.
Both Tayloni and her mother said they’re conflicted about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, which was ruled partially unconstitutional by a federal judge last month.
“They should do it because somebody could be doing something wrong,” Tayloni said. “But they could get the wrong guy.”
Doctors have been talking about sending Tayloni home, but the thought of going back to Gates Ave. causes the girl to cry.
Her mother is looking for a new place to bring Tayloni home to, but says high rent has limited her choices. She remains undaunted by the challenge.
“She’s not going back to Gates,” Priscilla Samuel vowed.