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Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Kearns High student shot in head with airsoft or pellet gun, police say

By Ben Lockhart | Posted - Sep. 8, 2016 at 10:31 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — A 14-year-old boy was shot in the head Thursday night at Kearns High School after a homecoming event, police said.

The boy, a ninth-grade Kearns High student, was alert after being shot and was hospitalized in fair condition late Thursday, according to Unified police detective Ken Hansen. The boy was later released from the hospital, the Granite School District reported.

Police believe the weapon used was likely an airsoft or pellet gun.

"It’s a wound that didn’t penetrate very far," Hansen said.

A few minutes after 9 p.m., a silver or gray four-door sedan pulled into a school parking lot near the football field and someone fired one shot at the boy, striking his forehead, the detective said. Police were still looking for the shooter late Thursday.

Witnesses said they heard a gunshot and squealing tires, according to Hansen. There were several people who witnessed the shooting.

Witnesses told KSL the vehicle sat outside the high school for about 15 minutes before the shooting. They also said it doesn't appear the teen was targeted because the shooter fired into a group.

Those witnesses were very shaken as they described the scene.

"It was definitely traumatizing to see somebody I actually knew and hung out with just to lay there and know that he was unconscious, totally just, blood everywhere," a witness said.

The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.

"We don’t know of intent or any motivation," Hansen said. "It could be random. It’s too soon to tell."

One witness, a senior student at Kearns High, said he heard several loud sounds in quick succession. The boy said the victim was knocked to the ground from the shot and that he was bleeding.

Contributing: Ladd Egan and Shara Park

Ben Lockhart

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