A Queens teenager who was shot in the head and critically wounded Wednesday after getting into a playground fight is now “brain dead,” her grieving father told The Post on Thursday.
Claudia Quaatey, 16, was in an SUV outside Locust Manor Park after settling a beef with another group of girls when shots rang out around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday — with one slug hitting her in the head and leaving her in a medically induced coma, police said Thursday.
Now cops are trying to determine if the earlier scuffle had anything to do with the shooting or if the teen was just an innocent bystander.
“She had gotten into a fight,” her father Albert Quaatey, 65, said at the family home in Queens. “My daughter, she doesn’t happen to be in fights like that. Just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“The police don’t have much to say other than it was an angry meeting, that was it,” said Quaatey, a construction worker who is originally from Ghana. “So, she’s brain dead.
“It’s been difficult,” he added. “I keep on praying that my daughter will survive this. We haven’t really had the time to digest it.”
Quaatey said his daughter dreamed of becoming a nurse and liked to braid hair for her friends — and told him she was on her way to do just that when she was shot while sitting in a Hyundai SUV, which was parked near the park and outside PS 015 Jackie Robinson elementary school, police said.
Three gunmen fired off “multiple” 9mm rounds — in what the sources believe was part of a gang-related dispute — before fleeing the scene and remaining on the loose.
“The shooting happened just after 8 p.m. so everyone was there with their family,” said Jillian McKoy, 39, a teacher’s assistant who was at the park at the time of the shooting. “I thought it was fireworks until I saw the children running and they were all yelling, ‘Oh, my God! Oh no, they shot her.’
“Within minutes every cop from the 113th [Precinct] was on our block,” McKoy said.
The wounded teen was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and was later transferred to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where she remains in a coma.
“Usually I tell her, school days, I don’t want her going out,” her father said. “It wasn’t late, but still. They always called me old-school, but there are these kinds of problems. Too many younger people are being killed. I tried, but how much can you do?
“She goes out to braid people’s hairs, or usually they come here,” he said. “She was not going too much.”
He said he was on his way home from work around 9:30 p.m. when he got a call that he needed to get to Jamaica Hospital, where Claudia was being treated at the time.
“It’s terrible,” the father said. “We’re devastated. You never want to hear this kind of news. I’m standing here in a state of shock.”
Claudia is one of six siblings, and was described by her father as “very loving.”
The shooting comes as the number of under-18 victims of gun violence continues to rise in the Big Apple.
According to NYPD statistics, there were 153 underage shooting victims in the five boroughs last year, a jump from 138 in 2021 and 125 in 2020 — and more than double the 2017 figure of 75.
Within the 113th Precinct boundaries, the data shows that seven people overall have been shot through Sunday of this year, the same number reported for the same time span last year.
“This is really a good neighborhood, this is not a bad place,” Albert Quaatey said. “Lately, these guns, guns, guns, people are dying by the numbers, it’s craziness.
“There is a lot of crime,” he added “If they could just keep the guns off the streets, I think we’ll be all right, and we don’t have to bury our loved ones. It is our future we’re burying right now.”
Additional reporting by Joe Marino, Craig McCarthy and Amanda Woods
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