‘She was fighting’: Dorchester teen returns home three months after being critically wounded

BOSTON — A Dorchester teenager is back home with her family three months after being critically wounded in a spray of gunfire.

Juliana Howard, who turned 16 last month, was released from the hospital three days before Christmas.

Her family is calling it a “Christmas miracle” and is amazed by the progress Juliana continues to show with each day.

She and her 11-year-old brother were among five people shot at the Franklin Field Housing community in September.

Johan Howard and the other victims have since physically recovered.

“She was fighting,” said aunt Jessica Huertas. “We were always hoping for the best, but we were expecting the worst.”

Huertas told Boston 25 News that her niece still has several surgeries scheduled in the months ahead involving her skull and right leg.

Juliana was pierced by four bullets including one that remains lodged in her head.

“I think it’s just gunna be a long road before she becomes more of herself. She’s not strong enough yet,” explained Huertas. “She’s speaking really low because they took the trach out. She’s still on a feeding tube.”

A Suffolk grand jury indicted two men for their alleged roles in the shooting earlier this month.

Gianni Williams-Johnson, 24, of Dorchester, and Micah Ennis, 24, of South Boston, are each charged with five counts of armed assault with intent to murder, one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of firearms.

Williams-Johnson was taken into custody several weeks after the gunfire and held on $1 million bail. His next court date is March 5, 2024.

He’s also charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun.

Ennis remains on the run.

“To the ones just running the streets wild, you guys have to slow down because things like this happen,” added Huertas. “We want justice. She deserves it.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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