July 4th brings about unprecedented dangers and hazards as fireworks simultaneously ignite while people use gas grills, drink heavily and frequent swimming pools. Law enforcement is always on high alert during any of the nation’s festivities claiming long weekends in California. Most notably, July 4th weekend tends to result in higher numbers of DUI arrests, fires from fireworks and accidental injuries from partygoers immersed in patriotic merriment. It is not often that police are called to investigate a stray bullet hitting a child during a fireworks display, but that is exactly what transpired over the weekend in Fresno, California.
This past Monday evening, a young 11-year old child was watching a fireworks display ignite the night sky when she was suddenly and unexpectedly struck by a stray bullet falling from the sky. Seemingly, someone fired a gun into the air during the light show and the bullet returned to earth at alarming speed, lodging itself in the child’s body. The projectile struck her collarbone and came to a stop within her chest cavity.
A neighbor reported no instance of gunshots and assumed the child had burned herself with sparklers or some other small firework display. He had no idea what was actually transpiring was a gunshot wound. The victim was standing with a group of neighborhood children, including the neighbor’s children.
The little girl could not identify what hit her or what had happened and repeatedly asserted that she had been burned. Parents and adults rushed the girl indoors to examine the wound site and could not clearly make out what had happened. She was immediately taken to Children’s Hospital Central California where doctors quickly determined that the young child had a bullet lodged in her chest. Her parents immediately called the police.
Lieutenant Burke Farrah of the Fresno Police Department remarked that the incident could have been much worse if the bullet had hit her skull and lodged in her brain. Investigators believe that in the midst of celebration a neighbor must have fired a shot into the air, not realizing the potential impact of doing so. Neighbors stated that with so many fireworks going off at the time, everything sounded like gunshots and no one had any clue as to who could have fired the shot.
One neighbor stated that despite the fact the neighborhood is family-friendly, he may consider keeping his children indoors next year to avoid accidents like what happened to the young girl.
Police insist they do not believe the suspect intended malice or injury to any other person; however, they caused severe injury due to a reckless and careless act and the incident will be taken very seriously. Firing a gun into the air is a felony in California and the person responsible could face prison time for the negligent discharge of a firearm.