2-year-old struck in head by stray bullet while playing outside at day care: Police

Police said a man was shooting at birds with an air rifle west of the day care.

May 24, 2023, 5:12 PM

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.

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.

While playing, one child "appeared to stumble and was seen bleeding from the face," Spanish Fork Police Lt. Cory Slaymaker said in a statement Tuesday.

The day care notified the parents, who took the child to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Doctors discovered through scans a "small caliber bullet" lodged in the toddler's head, Slaymaker said.

Slaymaker said the day care staffers who were outside at the time were "shocked" and did not hear or see anything.

The boy was transferred to a local children's hospital for treatment and is currently in stable condition, police said. He remains hospitalized in stable condition and is "improving," police said Wednesday.

The incident appears to be a "tragic accident" and remains under investigation, Slaymaker said.

Police said Wednesday that detectives have identified a person of interest in the case who was shooting birds with a .22-caliber air rifle west of the day care.

The man is cooperating with authorities and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

Once the investigation is completed, police said they will forward the case to the Spanish Fork City prosecutor's office to review any charges.

The person of interest will not be named unless formal charges are filed, police said.

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