BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A 16-year-old Birmingham girl shot while she was asleep in her bed said she is thankful to have survived the gunfire that bore through her bedroom wall.

Jessica Joseph, a junior at Carver High School, was shot in the face when a hail of bullets erupted outside her home Wednesday morning. She and two of her younger cousins were in their beds when someone fired the shots.

Of the dozen or more shots fired, at least one went through the exterior wall and through her mirror before striking her.

“I heard the gunshots go off and, after the first gunshot, I got up to get on the floor, but the gunshot hit me,” Jessica said. “I was shocked.”

She said she didn’t feel anything at first, but then raised her hand to her cheek, and her fingers came away bloody.

“Blood was everywhere,’ she said. “I sat there for a minute to see if it was real or not.”

She started to cry, and it was only then that the cousins in the room with her awoke. Her grandparents, her aunt and other children also were in the home but were uninjured. “They didn’t get up until I started screaming,” Jessica said.

She ran to the other side of the house in search of help.

“I ran in there and they were just in shock,” she said. “They didn’t know what to do except call the police.”

The teen said she soon realized it would be OK. “I was still able to feel and walk and stuff,” she said. “I knew God was with me. He was by my side.”

Jessica was taken to Children’s of Alabama where doctors stitched up one of her wounds. “I still have one open bullet wound but it wasn’t deep,” she said.

She was at the hospital from about 2 a.m. until 8 a.m. She plans to return to school on Monday.

Police have not identified any suspects, and the investigation is ongoing.

Jessica said if she had the chance to say something to the shooter, or shooters, she would tell them this: “What if it was you or your siblings? You hurt my family and me as well,” she said. “You shouldn’t play like that.”

The wound on her face, she said, is not a scar but rather her “muscle.”

“It’s where I was strong,” she said. “It’s the part where I was strong.”

Author photo
CAROL ROBINSON
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