4-year-old victim returns home less than a week after drive-by shooting

Girl home after drive by shooting
(Christian Flores | WBTV)
(Christian Flores | WBTV)

SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Aryanna Odoms flashed her million dollar smile while playing with her cousins Monday afternoon at her grandmother's apartment, showing few signs she was the victim of a drive-by shooting only a week ago.

She broke out in laughter while playing duck-duck-goose, tapping a cousin on his head with her left hand. Just above that left hand, you will find the hospital band still around her wrist, a reminder to family members just how close they were to losing the playful 4-year-old.

"It's amazing she's still here. She's playing, she's walking," said Quantina Leach, Aryanna's grandmother.

Aryanna still has trouble walking - sometimes a family member has to hold her hands while she walks. However, Leach says this is huge step in the right direction. Just days ago, she was in a hospital bed.

"She has her days," Leach said. "Her stomach is still hurting, but she gets up and plays when she feels like it. She's started eating, but it's the pain. She's still got to deal with that."

Aryanna was shot on her side during a drive-by shooting in her Shelby home on Toms Street last Monday. More than 50 shots were fired, and you could still see bullet holes in the home.

So far, six suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting. Charges include assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and discharging a firearm into occupied property.

Family members are still shaken up when thinking about what happened, and what could have been.

"When I got that phone call, I was just hoping my niece isn't gone," said Cierra Patterson, Aryanna's aunt.

Aryanna no longer lives in the home where the drive-by took place. Leach says she does not want to bring back memories of that night. Aryanna now lives with Leach in her apartment.

If you take a step inside that apartment, you will find balloons and gifts plastered with characters from the movie, Frozen, Aryanna's favorite movie. Leach says this kind of support has made the recovery process a little easier for everyone.

"All the support, all of the prayers, that was very helpful. She loves her gifts," Leach said.

Because of her injuries, Aryanna will not be able to return to school this year, but family members say she is excited to get back to class at the beginning of next year.

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