10-year-old Long Beach girl struck by falling bullet on New Year's Day

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A 10-year-old Long Beach girl was shot by a falling bullet on New Year's Day after someone apparently shot a gun into the air. (KABC)

A 10-year-old Long Beach girl was shot by a falling bullet on New Year's Day after someone apparently shot a gun into the air.

New Year's fun turned into a nightmare for Fatima Alejandro and her 10-year-old daughter, Nia.

"Gave each other hugs, screamed, 'Happy New Year' and everything when suddenly she just starts saying, "Oh, my arm, my arm hurts,'" Alejandro recalled.

"I felt a burn and a pinch," Nia said.

Initially, it looked like she had scraped her arm, but the pain persisted.

Off they went to St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach.

They couldn't believe what the X-ray showed.

"They showed me that there's a bullet inside of her arm," Alejandro said.

A falling bullet had hit Nia, but the worst of it was just beginning.

After four visits to two different emergency rooms, no one would remove the bullet.

St. Mary Medical Center took the family's insurance, but on the second attempt there, they got some bad news.

"We got there at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. We waited until 10 o'clock at night...The result was that there's no pediatrician surgeon that could remove the bullet," Alejandro said.

Meantime, Nia's school told her not to return to class until that bullet was gone.

Eyewitness News contacted St. Mary Medical Center for answers, but the hospital declined, citing patient privacy.

Thursday, Nia's family took her to her primary doctor and made another flurry of phone calls appealing for help.

Then, a door opened. Nia was told to come at once to the emergency room so the bullet could be removed - and it was.

"With the help of you guys, we got it done," Alejandro said.

A chilling note to this story - while we were interviewing Alejandro, a gunshot was heard in an alley just steps away.

Family members say they hear shots around their home all the time.

To the person who fired on New Year's, Nia says -- stop.

"They could have killed me or someone," the girl said.

Nia wasn't the only child struck by a stray, falling bullet during New Year's celebrations. A 9-year-old boy was struck by a falling bullet during New Year's Eve fireworks in South Los Angeles.

Related Topics:
shots firedchild injuredchild shotgunsnew year's eveLos Angeles CountyLong Beach
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