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'Worst Day Of My Life': Tampa Mother Says 9-Year-Old Daughter Is Recovering After Being Shot

Her mom says she was at the park playing after school when she was struck.

TAMPA, Fla. — A 9-year-old girl is still recovering after being hit by a stray bullet in Tampa three weeks ago.

Artese Harden says her daughter Ray’Ana has a lumbar spine fracture and has not returned to school since the shooting.

“March 22, 2022, was the worst day of my life,” Harden said.

Her daughter was hanging out near the basketball court at Robles Park. After the game, two teenage boys got into an argument. One of the teens ran home and returned with a gun. Harden says that evening she woke up from a nap to her other daughter screaming.

“I heard my daughter say Ray Ray has been shot and immediately I said to dial 911 because I didn’t have to doubt it was a mistake,” Harden said. “I knew it was true because I know where we live.”

The 15-year-old accused of firing the gun was arrested shortly after the incident.

Artese says she has lived in the Robles Park community for eight years. She says she witnesses violence far too often. She says she is scared for her kids to even go outside because she never knows when a crime could take place.

“When I sit on my porch and I’m minding my own business I encounter yelling and screaming and then I hear somebody saying oh I’m going to shoot you,” Harden explained.

After being hit by the stray bullet, doctors say Ray’Ana will probably never be able to participate in gymnastics. Harden says hearing that broke her heart because her daughter absolutely loved gymnastics.

Right now, they aren’t sure when exactly Ray’Ana will return to school.

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