A Tennessee girl who is only 2 years old — one who is described by family members as “spunky” and “sassy” — is struggling for her life after being hit by a stray bullet while having a fun day playing on a backyard slide, police have said.
Young Ariel Salaices was hit by the bullet while playing outside with her siblings, who are 12 and 5, in the backyard of their house in Mountain City, Tennessee, about 150 miles northeast of Knoxville.
The child was in very critical condition and was on life-support as of the last update at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. This is according to her aunt.
Sheriff’s investigators stated that Ariel was hit by the bullet on Friday. Investigators are still attempting to find and arrest the person who fired the errant shot that hit the child in the back of the head.
Brown said that after being shot, Ariel tried to sprint over to her father. The girl was only able to run about 20 feet before she collapsed, Brown said.
The girl’s dad picked her up right away, put her in his vehicle and raced to the closest Johnson County emergency medical services room, Brown said to sources. Ariel was then taken in a helicopter 44-miles to the Johnson City Medical Center, and was transferred afterward to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.
Brown wanted the person who performed the shooting to come forward.
“I just have to say that even if it was an accident, I know they have to know what happened. It’s been all over the news. They really need to come forward,” Brown said.
She said that while there is a rifle or gun range near to the family’s home, investigators do not believe the errant shot came from there.
Johnson County Sheriff Edward Tester told ABC affiliate station WCYB-TV that the event is an example of how dangerous it can be to shoot weapons when you are near a neighborhood.
“If you’re using a firearm and doing target practice or hunting, make sure you’re looking beyond where you’re shooting,” Tester said. “Because that bullet may not stop where you want it to.”
“Ariel is a very spunky little girl. She’s sassy and she’s full of life. She’s definitely not one who wants to sit still,” Brown told ABC News.