NJ community helping to replace bullet-riddled car after boy's shooting

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A Camden County, New Jersey community is helping to replace a family's bullet-riddled car after a young child was caught in the crossfire of a shooting earlier this year.

Three months after getting shot in the stomach, 4-year-old Nakeem Parson received a hero's welcome at the Camden County Police Department Headquarters.

During the special ceremony, the Magnolia Fire Department gifted the boy a new bike, and the police department showered him with kindness for his bravery.

"We decided to host an event here for him to come and hang out with us, our chief was here, it was just a great event," said Lieutenant Vivian Coley.

The boy was shot on January 15 while sitting in a booster car seat as his mother, Nichole Parson, was putting items in the trunk on the 900 block of Central Avenue.

The gunfire erupted after an argument broke out nearby. The boy was caught in the crossfire and rushed to Cooper University Hospital where he spent weeks recovering.

Nichole Parson says she is still shaken by the shooting and got rid of the car, not wanting to traumatize her child any further.

That's when the Camden County community stepped up to help raise money for a new vehicle.

"I mean how could you not want to jump in and try to help," said Cristina DeCristofor who retired from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and now runs the Facebook page, OperationKindess.

She put out the call urging people to help her raise money to get them another car.

"It really is simple to me, like I feel kindness is the thing that can really make our communities better. It's really the common denominator. It's the thing that ties us all together," said DeCristofor.

And the community is coming together, so far raising over $1,100.

"We want to change the mindset here that this isn't a bad place. I don't want any kid to think of me as a bad person. I'm only here to help," said Lt. Coley.
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