"As a parent, I was upset... it easily could have happened to my kids"

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A 13-year-old Longview girl is now in a Dallas hospital after being shot in the head with a pellet gun. The alleged shooter was another 13-year-old. Thursday afternoon near the Autumnwood Apartments on Lake Lamond Drive.

Police say doctors were initially told the girl had fallen down, but then the real injury was discovered.

"They found that it was actually a projectile that had struck her in the head," said Officer Kevin Brownlee, with the Longview PD.

Neighbor Tabitha Vincent saw what was going on and tried to help.

"I sat with her and talked with her and tried to calm her down and let her know that the paramedics were on the way and she was going to be fine," explained Vincent. "We just needed her to relax and not move."

The weapon was an air, or pellet rifle, and felony charges were filed against the 13-year-old who allegedly pulled the trigger.

"We're not sure of the motive right now; whether they were playing, whether it was intentional [or] whether the child shot the victim not knowing it would cause that damage," said Brownlee.

Though it's unclear what led up to the little girl being shot, police say this is not an isolated incident. There has been at least one other case involving a pellet gun at the apartments.

"There was an incident that occurred at the same apartment complex last Monday involving an air rifle in which a child was shot with an air rifle and a police report was made," said Brownlee.

That child was not seriously hurt, but Friday a second juvenile was arrested and charged in that case. Still, it does little to help a mother, worried that a weapon could have just as easily been aimed at her children.

"It is frightening," said Vincent. "As a parent, I was upset, because it easily could have happened to my kids. I have four kids and they play out here."

"There's nothing funny about it," said Brownlee. "They're very serious and can definitely injure or kill somebody."

Both of the juvenile suspects are in the Gregg County Juvenile Detention Center. The little girl remains at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Her condition was last reported as serious.

©2009 KLTV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.