Two young brothers, ages 12 and 13, are still recovering mentally and physically after being injured months apart in separate shootings near their home in Northeast D.C.
Thirteen-year-old Roy’Nal Hill was shot on May 4 of this year near Kenilworth Avenue.
“I was standing on a fence, and I heard some shots, some shots went off,” he said.
A bullet struck Roy’Nal’s spine. He spent weeks in the hospital hoping for a full recovery. His mother gave him the prognosis that would change his life forever.
“She told me, 'You’ll be alright, but you’re gonna be paralyzed,'” Roy’Nal said. “I said, 'I’m still gonna live, right?' And she said 'Yeah,' and I said 'That’s the only thing that matters.'”
Roy’Nal’s paralysis came only three months after his 12-year-old brother, Roy’Ale, was shot steps away from their home. It happened on Valentine’s Day.
“When they shot, I was running and I pushed a girl out the way, and I got shot,” Roy’Ale said.
Now, Roy’Ale says he is too afraid to go outside.
“He can’t do things that he normally used to do,” the boys' mother, Ebonee Hill, said. “My first son who was shot, he’s scared to go outside. So, yes, they were robbed of their childhood.”
Hill has been raising her seven children in the same home near Kenilworth Avenue for the past six years, but after the two shootings and months of pleading with her apartment complex to relocate her, she says she's going to do whatever it takes to move her family.
“Everybody can’t afford to buy houses and live in nice areas,” Hill said in an interview with News4 in May, shortly after Roy’Nal’s injury. “Everybody can’t afford that. Why can’t we feel safe anywhere?”
The Hill's home is also not accessible, making it difficult for Roy’Nal to get around with his new disability. Roy’Ale helps his brother move and do the things he can’t do for himself.
The D.C. housing authority says that the family is approved for an accessible home, and are at the top of the list to receive one — but they have to wait for another family to move out first.
As Hill tries to accept the changes to her family’s life and find them a new place to live, Roy’Nal has faith that he will be able to beat the odds and walk again.
“I know I’m gonna be able to walk again,” he said. “I believe in myself and I know my family believes in me too.”
The family says they have been in contact with the police, and no arrests have been made in either shooting.