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Child Hurt by Accidental Rifle Shot

Child Hurt by Accidental Rifle Shot

Posted - Jul. 30, 2003 at 5:12 p.m.



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Sandra Yi Reporting A four-year old boy is recovering after being hit by a stray bullet, which shot through the floor of his Salt Lake City apartment.

The shooting happened around 10:30 last night. Police say it was an accident. They say the man in the second story apartment was handling his rifle when he accidentally fired a round. The bullet went straight up to the apartment above him and hit a child sitting on the couch.

Duane Jaramillo, Neighbor: "Last night I heard a definite gunshot. It wasn't a backfire. It wasn't firecrackers. It wasn't a tire blowing out. It was definitely a round going off."

It was close call for the four-year old boy hit by the stray bullet.

Duane Jaramillo, Neighbor: "He was in definite shock because I was standing right here when they carried him out."

Gail Martinez, Apartment Manager: "I was just glad to see that he was ok. He wasn't really crying. He just looked really scared."

The boy was shot when a man living in the apartment directly below the child's accidentally discharged his rifle. Police say the man was handling the bolt on the gun and pulled the trigger without realizing it was loaded.

Det. Dwayne Baird, Salt Lake City Police Dept.: "The individual who had the rifle listened for a few moments to see if there was any commotion upstairs, unaware the bullet would have gone through the floor of the apartment above him. He thought it might have just gone through the ceiling and stopped there."

A bullet fragment hit the child who was sitting on the couch. Police say the victim's father realized his son was hit only after the boy asked for a diaper change about 15 minutes later.

Gail Martinez, Apartment Manager: "I saw a mark on his bottom where it looked to me like it just grazed him."

Police call the shooting an accident and hope the incident will be a lesson for gun owners.

Duane Jaramillo, Neighbor: "When you shoot off a weapon, the bullet can hit a timber and ricochet anywhere. Just like hitting a bone. It can hit your bone here and go somewhere else."

Gail Martinez, Apartment Manager: "He feels terrible. He feels horrible and he talked to the boy's father this morning and apologized and he just feels bad."

The man was not arrested but police say he could be charged in the shooting. Officers confiscated the rifle. That man was home this afternoon but declined to comment.

As for the victim, he had surgery today to remove the bullet fragment. He could be released from the hospital today or tomorrow.

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