Bullet Falls From Sky and Hits Girl Watching Fireworks

Fresno - There were more than fireworks going off in a Fresno neighborhood Monday night.

Someone fired a gun into the air, and the bullet lodged itself in a little girl who was outside watching fireworks, in the 4500 block of Grove Avenue in southeast Fresno.

The 11-year-old girl had surgery and is getting better.

Police say the bullet fell from the sky and hit her near her collarbone, then moved down into her chest area.

The girl thought she got burned from one of the fireworks the kids were setting off.

"We didn't hear no gunshots, we just started hearing her cry," said Pablo Mendez, who was setting off fireworks in his family's driveway on the Fourth of July with a group of kids, including the 11-year-old named Sandra, who came to the home with a family friend.

"Once we did one of them and we finished. The little girl just started crying that something hit her like she got burned by something. We took her inside. It seemed like something was in there," said Mendez.

Sandra's parents didn't know what was wrong, and an hour and half after she was hurt, they took her to Children's Hospital Central California, where doctors discovered a bullet lodged in her chest.

They called police.

"It could've been so much more severe, it could've impacted her in the head, it could've hit an artery or a vein. We're fortunate and we're blessed that the injury wasn't more serious," said Lt. Burke Farrah with the Fresno Police Department.

Investigators believe someone fired a celebration shot into the air, around the same time fireworks were going off Monday night.

"There was a lot of fireworks going off last night. It all sounded like gunshots," said Bernie Valadez who lives nearby.

People who live in the area say this is a family-oriented neighborhood.

"It's too bad that accidents like that have to happen. We just got to take precautionary measures with our kids...maybe even keep them inside when stuff like that's happening," said Valadez.

Meanwhile, police are interviewing people in this neighborhood, looking to arrest the person who fired the bullet that ended up hurting an innocent girl.

"We don't believe this was a malicious act that someone intended to shoot this little girl.{} Because of someone's carelessness, someone's thoughtlessness and carelessness, a little girl was injured, and we take that very seriously," said Lt. Farrah.

Firing a gun into the air is a felony, and police say the person who pulled the trigger could go to prison, if convicted of negligent discharge of a firearm.

If you have information about the person who fired the gun in this case, you're asked to call Detective Antonio Rivera with the Fresno Police Department at (559) 621-2425.