Mother of Cleveland 7-year-old speaks out saying her daughter’s condition has improved

Published: May. 28, 2023 at 10:31 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News has learned that a 7-year-old, first grader, who was shot in the head last week is improving, according to her family.

Nariah Gilner of Cleveland was in critical condition when she was rushed to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital last Wednesday, May 24, but, her mother Justice Smith says she’s now stable, “She overcame a lot of stuff that the doctor said she couldn’t. We all are staying strong and praying for her. She’s a big fighter, my daughter is strong. She’s the strongest person I know.”

Smith, a mother to 7 young children, wants to warn others about the dangers of guns in the wrong hands, hoping to keep another parent and child from suffering the way her family has, “That’s not something I allow in my house. That should have been brought to my attention.

The Cleveland mother says a visitor to her East 128th Street home never told her they brought a gun into her house.

Smith had to call 911 and ask for help when her daughter, Nariah Gilner was shot in the head by a younger brother who somehow got his hands on the loaded gun, according to police, “We want her name to be known. We don’t want her known as the little girl that got shot.”

Nariah’s name means ‘light of God’ which is symbolic of goodness, grace, hope, and faith, and faith is exactly what Smith and her family are relying on to see the 7-year-old through the biggest fight of her young life.

Now, this mother is telling her daughter’s story hoping someone else can learn from it, “We’re devastated. It’s hard to deal with, it’s hard to believe even in the situation where we are here every day It’s hard”

But, her family is also speaking out because they are hurt by all the chatter and speculation on social media and want the rumors and negativity to stop, “I’ve been hearing so many crazy things about my baby, and that’s negative energy getting poured into her. She’s alive, she’s fighting, y’all all should be praying for her. She’s so helpful and she’s so smart and she’s so beautiful.”

A little girl named Nariah is on the mend, while her family helps to shoulder her pain, hoping her story will save another child from the pain inflicted by guns, her grandmother Veronica West says, “We got this. We are going to be alright because God got us.”