Three-year-old Peruvian girl shot and paralyzed during failed robbery

A 3-year-old girl has suffered irreversible paralysis after being shot in the neck and arm on Sunday in Lima during a botched hold up targeting her grandparents.

“The damage is irreversible. What we don’t know very well is what her possibilities will be in the future,” daily El Comercio reported the director of Peru’s National Children’s Institute, Roberto Shimabuku, as saying. “We can’t know that until we specify the exact details of the extent of the damage produced.”

The hold up occurred just before noon on Sunday after Luis Cornejo and his wife Maria Vega, the grandparents of the girl, exchanged soles for $2,000 in downtown Lima. The family was returning to their home in Barranco at 11:30 a.m. when two vehicles carrying six people forced them to stop on the Paseo de la Republica highway close to the Domingo Orue bridge on the limit of Miraflores and Surquillo districts.

Four people got out of the vehicles and one of them tried to take the $2,000 from Cornejo. The individuals fired six times at Cornejo’s vehicle when he tried to resist the robbery. The gun shots alerted nearby police who fired into the air, which resulted in the robbers fleeing south in their vehicles without the money.

During the attack, the 3-year-old was hit by two bullets. The first impacted her right arm and the second entered the right side of her neck, which destroyed part of her spinal cord resulting in the paralysis of her arms and legs.

The girl was taken to the Casimiro Ulloa hospital and later transferred to the National Children’s Institute.

Authorities have said the hold up was carried out by “Marcas” – criminal gangs that follow and rob people when they are carrying large sums of money.

Earlier this month, such a gang robbed and killed night club owner Enrique Vergara when he was picking up earnings from the previous night. In late 2009, four assailants followed and robbed a store owner minutes after he withdrew 6,000 soles (US$2,142) from a bank in Surco.

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