"A bullet lodged in her leg, a 6-year-old girl caught in the crossfire of a wild shooting in Harlem screamed: "Mommy! Mommy! I'm bleeding!"
Tahjai Brown, her 7-year-old friend Shanaisa Sherwood and two other kids cowered behind a park bench at the Renaissance Playground when the shots rang out late Thursday. Shanaisa and three adults were also wounded.
"They too little for this," Shanaisa's mother said yesterday as doctors at Harlem Hospital treated a wound to the girl's leg and cops hunted for the shooter.
The intended target, Alexander Pagan, 23, was shot three times in the chest and once in the arm. He was in critical condition at Harlem Hospital.
Two adults, Carl Sean Haynes and Tara Harrison, were wounded by stray bullets, police said.
Haynes, 21, who apparently tried to shield the girls from the gunfire, was shot in the spine, stomach and pancreas, and likely won't be able to walk again, relatives said. He was in critical condition at Harlem Hospital.
"Sean's a hero," his stepfather, William White, said. "If that's not a hero, I don't know what is."
The mothers, who live nearby in a battered women's shelter and didn't want their names used, said they routinely take their kids to the playground at night.
The moms were rounding up the kids when the gunman opened fire at 11 p.m. near 144th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd.
"When she came running to me, she said, 'Mommy! Mommy! I'm bleeding, I'm bleeding,'" Tahjai's mom said. "I scooped her up."
Harrison, who is Pagan's girlfriend, was wounded in the leg. She was in stable condition at St. Luke's Hospital.
PS: Special kudos to anyone who can pronounce any of the above childrens' names. Ya think we'll ever see a time when these poor kids aren't handed one incredibly dumb French-variable monicker or another? Is Gon-Or-ee-A next because it sounds vaguely Parisan?