- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A 14-year-old St. Louis girl who lost an eye in a shooting isn’t letting that deter her from her dreams.

In September, Latasha Williams was inside of a corner store buying chips and candy with reward money for good grades when bullets struck the building. Williams was hit twice, with one of the bullets entering her right nostril, piercing her left eye.

Surgeons removed parts of her eye on Sept. 20 and put in a temporary prosthetic eyeball to allow the muscles to heal. She’ll need another surgery to get a permanent implant, her mother, Donnitta Turner, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1yRCnwx ).

Looking in the mirror, Williams doesn’t only see the gauze covering her left eye anymore.

“I’m beautiful,” she says. “I still look the same.”

About three weeks after Williams was injured, her uncle and another man were fatally shot in a drive-by, drug-related shooting in downtown St. Louis, police said. Neither crime has been solved.

Help has poured in for Williams and her family since news of the shooting spread. The owner of a St. Louis County apartment complex is trying to find a home large enough for Turner and her seven children. A St. Louis lawyer has offered Williams an internship next summer, and after her surgery, Mayor Francis Slay delivered her goodies, including chocolate-covered strawberries and a customized pen and letter opener. He also invited her to shadow officials within the city courts system.

When she returned to school last week, friends gave her welcome-back hugs; she had her favorite meal at the cafeteria, beef tacos; and she attended back-to-back algebra classes, which she loves. Friends of Williams have been wearing decorative eye patches to school to show their support.

Williams said she’s considering a career as a prosecutor to punish criminals like the ones who shot her and her uncle James Lane. She has her sights set on Ivy League schools, including Harvard Law School, Yale or Princeton.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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