Family of N. Mpls shooting victim stay strong through aftermath

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Vernice Hall struggles to recover as her kin hold on to hope

It has been over two months since 12-year-old Vernice Hall was shot in the head at her home in North Minneapolis. On Saturday, September 22, 2007, a parent’s worst nightmare became real, and Vernice was given little chance of survival. The bullet wound seemed insurmountable and recovery just a dream.

Vernice has since undergone several surgeries and extensive physical therapy sessions, all greatly affecting her family members, friends, loved ones and concerned community members.

Upon visiting with the Hall parents at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where Vernice is a patient, one can feel a sense of hope, but not of redemption. Although there have been two people arrested in the shooting case, all Vernice’s mother and father want is their daughter back.

Her father, Steven Hall, stated, “There is nothing more important to me right now than my daughter, Star [Vernice’s nickname]. Her progress, to me, is definitely improving.

“It’s slow progress, not what I would like it to be, but any progress is a blessing,” he continued. “She is responding through her eye movements, and she is hearing my voice and responding in that way. We were told initially that Star was blind and could not respond.”

At a time when many would simply fall apart, the Halls, who have four other children in the household, are keeping it together. Their greatest challenges are transportation, patience, and continuing to push themselves and each other.

“I went home last night to spend time with the children,” stated Hall. “I finally fell asleep about 3 am only to wake up and leave by 7 and endure a grueling two-hour bus ride [back to the hospital]. With the weather and all, you know it’s very challenging and very stressful, but only by the grace of God, we have been able to handle the stress.”

He took a break from our conversation to adjust Vernice’s head to a more comfortable position. He is at the hospital every day to ensure that his daughter receives all the help possible.

“The staff do a great job, but they can’t just stay in Vernice’s room,” Hall explains. He starts to get very emotional as he continues, “I try not to worry about the material things. Keeping strong faith is where we’re at. I want people to continue to pray for us, first and foremost; but I also long for our children to have a very happy holiday, a nice Christmas, that can help put them in a more joyous space.”

When asked about others who have endured the sadness of situations similar to his, Mr. Hall responded, “They have to keep the faith strong. You also have to pay attention to how you feel. You can’t give up. I’m here as a result of knowing that through God anything is possible. We thank everybody!”

Steven Hall and his family can be reached at 651-726-2614. A fund for Vernice Hall has been set up with US Bank; to contribute, go to any branch of the bank and ask about the fund.
Raymond Jackson welcomes reader responses to rayjack49@yahoo.com.

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