DUMAS, Ark. – A boy already used to beating the odds is coming out stronger than ever after Saturday’s mass shooting in Dumas.
Zaylen is a 10-year-old with Down Syndrome who was there the night 27 people were shot, one killed. His mom Kanesha Grandy explains he had to be convinced to go to the neighborhood picnic, or “Hood-Nic” Saturday with his brother as he doesn’t like leaving the house.
It was there that he was one of 5 children injured in one of the largest mass shootings in Arkansas history.
“It happened so fast, we weren’t there nothing but 30 minutes,” Grandy said. “We were talking to someone and all I know, we just hear shots. So, we just got to the ground.”
After running from the scene, it was discovered that Zaylen was shot clean through the leg. His grandmother was also hit and is still recovering.
Grandy says it was at the hospital where Zaylen’s bravery first started to shine through.
“He was calm, he was just sitting there,” Grandy remembered, saying Zaylen was more concerned for his “granny” than himself, repeatedly asking doctors about her.
Zaylen was even able to head home just in time to celebrate an event thrown by Grandy for World Down Syndrome Day – scheduled around 24 hours after the car show. In a video captured by his mom, Zaylen is seen dancing, hopping around on the leg still bandaged up.
“He like music, he like to dance,” said Grandy, watching the video. “We needed something to uplift us and that really uplifted me to see my baby up moving.”
Now back at home with his brother and cousins, Zaylen is doing well, watching videos on his iPad and running to the door to listen for the train passing, one of his favorite things. Grandy says his strength is inspiring to the whole family and should encourage others to begin to heal.
“I couldn’t even cry because I thought, ‘my baby’s strong’,” she said.
World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated internationally March 21.