Heartbroken Brooklyn mom Paulette Marshall doesn’t want to hear that accidents will happen — not with her teenage son’s funeral set for next week.
Marshall instead wants to hear that the youth accused of mistakenly pumping a bullet into her 18-year-old boy is back behind bars. Not just for the fatal shooting but also for his decision to bolt a Flatbush apartment and leave her wounded son Christon Jarrett paralyzed, bleeding and all by himself.
“He needs to learn his lesson," Marshall said of accused shooter Moustapha Diop, also 18, who posted $100,000 bail to walk free. “He needs to get some big jail time for that . . . We need justice.”
The victim’s distraught grandmother recalled how the doomed Jarrett, unable to move once the bullet tore through his spine, told her during a hospital visit in his final days that he was sorry.
“I said, ‘Sorry for what?’” the grandmom recounted. “He said, ‘My friend shot me and left me to die.’ And now that’s all I can hear in my head.”
Jarrett clung to life for 29 days before passing away this past Sunday, leaving behind a devastated family and his own unfulfilled dreams: A high school equivalency diploma, ownership of a well-stocked sneaker store. His funeral is set for Jan. 16 at Brooklyn’s Lenox Road Baptist Church.
Jarrett, known to his mom as “CJ," was hanging out with buddies in a friend’s second-floor apartment on E. 21st St. near Flatbush Ave. when Diop began loading bullets into a handgun around 10:40 p.m. Dec. 7, according to authorities. The weapon accidentally went off and the bullet tore into the victim’s abdomen as everyone else bolted for the door.
Marshall, speaking in the Crown Heights home she shared with her son, said Diop never should have gotten his hands on a gun.
“The only reason for a gun is to kill," she said. “You’re not going to war. You’re going to hang out with your friends.”
Cops responding to a 911 call found a bleeding Jarrett by himself in the apartment. He was able to identify the shooter as Diop, who lives around the corner from the building where the gunfire occurred, according to sources.
Jarrett was rushed to Kings County Hospital, where doctors were forced to partially remove his lacerated colon. He also suffered a punctured intestine and was left paralyzed when the bullet cracked open his spine.
Jarrett died without ever making it home. His mother recalled the difficult time they spent together before his damaged body finally gave out.
“The doctors encouraged me to talk to him,” said Marshall. "Sometimes he could only shake his head or give you a thumbs up. That’s all he could do in the last three weeks.”
Jarrett, before the struggle became too much, filled his mother in on the details of that fateful night, she says.
“There were like four friends in the apartment, with their girlfriends," Marshall said, relaying what her son told her. “They weren’t fighting. They were just together, maybe drinking, smoking, playing loud music.”
Then Diop arrived, carrying the handgun and taking a seat, Marshall’s son told her. Diop emptied the bullets from the gun and apparently believed it was empty when he pulled the trigger.
“There’s always one (bullet) left in the end,” said Marshall. "If you’re not experienced or you don’t know a lot about guns, you wouldn’t know that one shot is in there. I don’t know if (Diop) was laughing or joking or what but it went off and that was it. (Jarrett) said he was sitting beside Diop so the blast was powerful because he was so close.”
Diop was arrested six days after the shooting and charged with assault, weapons possession and reckless endangerment. The city Medical Examiner deemed Jarrett’s death a homicide after his death, opening the door for possible upgraded charges.
Diop is due back in court March 11. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
His mother, Fatima Bah, vowed he’d appear for that court date.
“He’s going to show up in court. If he doesn’t, I’ll lose $10,000. I put everything I had down,” she told The News.
Bah acknowledged Diop was in the room, but she insisted her son wasn’t the shooter. "They charged him but there is no proof. He didn’t shoot nobody,” she said.
She learned of Jarrett’s death from a reporter Wednesday.
“He has died? I am very sorry for this, but my son didn’t do nothing," she said. “He named my son, but he (my son) did not do this. I was in court. I thought this was all settled there.”
She added, “What about the others? My son did nothing.”
A friend of the accused shooter said Diop denies any part in what happened, insisting the gun actually belonged to Jarrett.
“He’s not doing good,” the pal said of Diop. “He feels like his life is over, and he didn’t even do anything wrong. It’s a lose-lose situation.”
Marshall was joined in her mourning by Jarrett’s brother and sister. “They’re not doing well, to see their smaller brother pass away over something so stupid," Marshall said.
“He didn’t deserve this,” his mother said. “He was on his way to graduating. He always said he wanted to own his own business. He said he wanted to open a sneaker store with all different brands of sneakers. He was fascinated by them."
“I don’t know how or when I’m going to get over it,” she added.
“I miss him, you know? I would come home in the evening and we’d be talking all night, until 12:30, 1 o’clock at night. In the morning before I left for work, I’d talked to him. I miss that. I miss him eating all the meat out of the pot. I miss all these things.”
With Kerry Burke