6-year-old Oakland girl struck by 'celebratory gunfire' on New Year's Eve

OAKLAND, Calif. -- A child has a bullet in her head that could be there for the rest of her life because she was struck by a stranger's celebratory gunfire.

Neighbors along Thermal Street in East Oakland -- where the girl was hit -- had a perfect view of San Francisco on New Year's Eve.

Roxanne Perez said she could hear children enjoying the evening's festivities at a family's party across the street from her home.

"Really family oriented," Beatriz Ferrer-Castro, another neighbor, said. "There's always kids."

"You could hear the kids yelling, five, four, three, two," Perez said. At midnight, Perez heard rounds of gunfire. "Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, you know, and I told my husband, 'Baby we better get our butts in the house before we get hit,'" Perez said.

The homeowner across the street didn't want to be interviewed on camera, but told ABC sister station KGO-TV the party was in the backyard. He said his friend's 6-year-old daughter fell to the ground right after midnight.

The homeowner said the girl was bleeding from her head and crying. It wasn't until her father got to the hospital that anyone realized she'd been shot.

"Where the wound is, is consistent with something that may come from...lets say an angle of something falling," Oakland PD Officer Johnna Watson said.

A stray bullet also hit a car parked outside the party.

Police are blaming all of the bullets on celebratory gunfire. Amazingly, the child is going to OK. The bullet is still in her head and may never be removed.

Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick stopped by UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital to see the family.

"I got to see her and touch her and give her our bear from our police department to her," Kirkpatrick said.

The chief also said the girl's parents are shaken.

"Put the guns down," Kirkpatrick added. "It is foolishness, it is unnecessary."

The Oakland Police Department said this case is tough. Shot spotter technology recorded lots of gunfire in the area. The bullet could have come from anywhere within just short of a mile away.

A $5,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has information that can lead police to an arrest.
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