Girl says 13-year-old friend shielded her from gunfire on porch
BY KIM JANSSEN Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org July 11, 2012 11:06PM
Updated: December 25, 2012 8:13PM
Daneysi Valdovinos believes her 13-year-old friend Rony Monzon was trying to protect her.
When a gunman ran up to their Southwest Side porch, Rony stood up in front of Daneysi.
He wound up taking six shots.
“He took the bullets,” Daneysi said. “They would have hit me in the head, but he stood up in front of me and they hit him instead.”
Daneysi considers herself lucky. So does Rony.
“I’m lucky — very lucky,” the softly-spoken Rony said Thursday morning as he recovered from bullet wounds to his chest, arm and hip in the pediatric intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The two friends were listening to Mexican ballads and enjoying a pizza on the stoop in the Brighton Park neighborhood Wednesday night when a gunman ran out of the gangway and shot Rony multiple times, he said.
Police said a witness heard the shooter shout a gang slogan as he ran away at about 9:25 p.m. No one was in custody Thursday evening.
Neither teen believes they were the intended target when the gunman began shooting in the 2400 block of West 47th Place.
“It wasn’t meant for me,” Rony said, wincing as he dabbed at his bloody arm. “The guy was looking the other way for someone else then he saw me and got scared and started shooting.”
Residents on the block said the Satan Disciples and the Latin Kings street gangs have been at war in the Brighton Park neighborhood, and that there has been gang activity at a home a few doors down from Rony’s.
Daneysi, 14, said she believes the gunman picked the wrong house.
“He looked me right in the eye,” she said, describing the shooter as a Latino in his late teens. “I didn’t know what to do — he looked so mad. I’m too scared to sit outside anymore.”
Rony recently graduated Shields Elementary School and is due to start at Phoenix Military Academy in the fall. He lives in the upstairs apartment of a two-flat, above Daneysi, who he has known all his life.
He shyly admitted Thursday he was “proud” that Daneysi had praised him for taking the bullets.
A photo posted on his Facebook profile shows him holding what appears to be an AK-47 assault rifle, but he and his family say it is actually a replica BB gun belonging to his friend. “It was a joke photo,” his mom Diana said.
Light-hearted comments Rony posted below the photo, poking fun at himself for adopting a macho pose, appear to support that claim. “I want people to know that he is not in any gangs, that he and his friends are not like that,” his mom said after a sleepless night. “This whole thing has been a nightmare.”
Police said Rony has no known gang affiliation, although he does know some gang members. Though obviously still in pain, Rony was already joking about surviving the shooting from his hospital bed.
“I’m like the Terminator,” he kidded with family friends.