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Brooklyn woman, 84, wounded by stray bullet as she sat on walker recently beat cancer: family


An 84-year-old Brooklyn woman wounded by a stray bullet as she sat on her walker enjoying a summer evening recently beat cancer – but her recovery is being complicated by blood thinners she takes for clots in her legs.

“I’m so grateful that she’s alive regardless of situation and circumstances,” victim Althea Lawson’s relieved daughter Carine Scott said Tuesday. “She has other conditions because she is already a cancer survivor. She’s in remission.”

Lawson had just finished hanging out with friends near Foster and Brooklyn Aves. in East Flatbush and was about to head home when a man opened fire at a group of people just before 6:50 p.m. Monday, according to police. The mother of seven routinely sits by the corner on her walker with friends in the evenings.

The bullet blew through Lawson’s left arm. Medics rushed her to Kings County Hospital, where she was recovering a day later.

Police are pictured on Brooklyn Ave. outside the Flatbush Gardens Apartments in Brooklyn on Monday, June 10, 2024, after an 84-year-old woman was shot. The victim's walker and blood are pictured. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)
Police are pictured on Brooklyn Ave. outside the Flatbush Gardens Apartments in Brooklyn on Monday, June 10, 2024, after an 84-year-old woman was shot. The victim’s walker and blood are pictured. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)

“She’s in pain,” said Lawson’s niece and caregiver Simone Boothe. “She was just in a lot of pain. The only worry that we have is because of the blood clots. She had (clots) in both legs actually. Her legs are swollen. She just got treatment for one of the blood clots recently.”

Lawson has been on heavy blood thinners because of her cancer diagnosis and a bout of thrombosis. She’s been in and out of the hospital for the last three weeks, relatives said.

“They’re trying to keep the blood from flowing,” Scott said of her treatment for the bullet wound. “They might have lowered the blood thinner so that she doesn’t bleed that much more.”

When the shots were fired, Lawson “didn’t know she was hit,” her niece said.

“She just saw the blood and that’s when she fell,” Boothe said. “Two gentlemen came and rushed to her side and ripped their shirts off and wrapped her arm.”

Good samaritan holds a bloodied tee thatb he used to stop the bleeding from an 84 year old female was shot on Brooklyn Ave, Flatbush Gardens Apartments. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)
A good Samaritan holds up a bloodied T-shirt he used to cover Lawson’s wound on Monday. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)

When she learned her aunt was hospitalized Boothe feared the worst.

“I completely thought that she wasn’t alive. I started crying. I broke down and I have anxiety so my heart was just pounding,” she said. “When I went into the emergency room I couldn’t breath and I had to walk out.”

“It was difficult to see her in pain and her arm was bleeding out. It was just scary. I didn’t want to leave her,” she added. “It was hard for me to leave her last night, knowing I had to come into work today.”

The doctors at Kings County Hospital were amazed how calm and composed Lawson was.

“The strongest person they know,” Boothe said of the doctors. “She wasn’t complaining. She wasn’t crying. She’s just a really strong woman. She doesn’t let anything stop her.”

Scott agreed, noting that despite everything that’s happened, her mother has been able to find the humor in every setback.

“She is a very happy person regardless of situations,” her daughter said. “I’ve never seen anybody being happy like her in her weakest and down time. You never know what she might be going through.”

Althea Lawson, an 84-year-old Brooklyn woman who was shot as she sat on her walker on Monday, June 10, 2023, in Brooklyn, New York.
Althea Lawson, an 84-year-old Brooklyn woman who was shot as she sat on her walker on Monday, June 10, 2023, in Brooklyn, New York.

Witnesses aid Lawson was even laughing on the phone as she as she spoke to family while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

“She was even being humorous about it,” said one witness, who wished not to be named. “She was saying, ‘If you had been here they’d have shot you too!’”

Yet the deadly reality Lawson could have faced wasn’t lost on her older sister Enid.

“I don’t want her to leave me,” the 88-year-old sibling said. “I prefer I leave her. I’m older than her.”

The shooter ran off and and has not been caught. Cops were scouring the area for surveillance footage that could help them identify the shooter.

Boothe became her aunt’s caretaker after Lawson gave her a place to stay while Boothe went through college.

“I had nowhere to live and she took me in without question, without asking me anything,” Boothe remembered. “I never had to ask for anything, I was fed, I was sheltered, I was clothed.”

“She’s one of these beings that will always give and think about others before she thinks about herself,” she added. “I’m sure that’s why God protected her. She’s an incredible woman.”

Police secure a vehicle on on Foster Ave believed to have been connected with the unintended shooting of an 84 year old female, See at least 9 spent bullet casings recovered in street (orange cones)(Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)
Police secure a vehicle on on Foster Ave. Monday after Althea Lawson was shot while sitting on her walker. (Sam Costanza for the New York Daily News)

Scott said her mother was just grateful she survived.

“(She’s) praising the lord for life and that she lived to tell her story that she heard so many times — and that she happened to be a survivor of this situation,” Scott said. “There are too many guns. Something must be done about this gun issue.”

Yet Lawson wouldn’t want the gunman treated too harshly, her daughter said.

“She would like that these persons are put to justice in whatever way (that would) help young people,” Scott said. “She’s always there for young people. She’s a person that would pick someone up off the street, wash them, feed them, and send them on their way. That’s who she is.”

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