A 2-year-old child was struck in the head by a stray bullet while playing outside a Utah day care, authorities said.
2-Year-Od Struck in Head by Stray Bullet While Playing Outside at Day Care
A man who was shooting at birds with an air rifle has been identified as a person of interest after a 2-year-old boy was struck in the head by a stray bullet while playing outside at a Utah day care, authorities said.
Two adult caretakers found the toddler injured on Monday.
The incident occurred Monday at a day care in Spanish Fork while several children were playing outside in a vinyl fenced-in area of the facility, according to police.
The boy was playing in an area enclosed by vinyl fencing when he “appeared to stumble and was seen bleeding from the face”. The day care told his parents, who brought him to hospital for treatment, police said.
Doctors found that the boy had a “small caliber bullet lodged in his head”. He was listed in stable condition.
Doctors opted to leave the bullet in the boy’s head, concerned removing it could cause additional injuries, according to local media. The child’s condition was improving, police said.
“Detectives are continuing to investigate where the bullet may have been shot from and why,” police said.
“It appears this was a tragic accident. Open fields are directly west of the day care and it is believed the round may have come from that area.”
On Wednesday, detectives said they had identified “an adult male who was shooting birds with a .22 caliber air rifle in the area west of the day care”. The man was cooperating and the case remained open.
Police said they would send results to prosecutors, to weigh potential charges. The man would not be named “unless formal charges are filed”.
In a statement, the day care said: “Safety for the children and staff in our care has always been our number one priority. We are praying for [the boy] and his family, and we are hopeful for a full recovery. We are also praying for the shooter and his family. I am sure he had absolutely no idea that his bullet would travel as far as it did.”
Firearms are the leading cause of death of children from aged one to 18 in the US, according to a University of Michigan analysis. Such deaths included gun-related suicides, accidental shootings and homicides.
In 2020, 11 infants died due to firearms, according to the Austin American Statesman.
Although most Americans support measures to reduce gun violence, efforts to enact federal legislation have stalled largely due to Republican opposition.
A quarter of Americans now consider access to guns to be the top public health threat, a recent Axios/Ipsos American Health Index poll found.