A 6-year-old girl in Oakland was struck by what was believed to be "celebratory gunfire" during a family New Year's party, according to police.
The girl is said to be in stable condition at the hospital, according to police.
Based on a preliminary investigation, the girl was hit by a stray bullet sometime before 2 a.m. Tuesday along the 9600 block of Thermal Street, according to police. She was playing in the backyard of her residence during a family New Year's party when she was struck.
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A man who identified himself as the homeowner but did not want his name used said sometime after midnight, the 6-year-old fell down in his backyard. The girl’s father initially thought she had tripped and somehow hit her head. It wasn’t until they got to the hospital that he realized a bullet was lodged in his daughter’s head.
Oakland Officer Johnna Watson said: "We believe it is celebratory gunfire."
Oakland police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was seen Tuesday carrying a giant teddy bear into UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland on a visit to the girl and her family.
Kirkpatrick had this to say for the person responsible: "I hope it pierces your conscience to know that your gunfire resulted in the critical care of a 6-year-old, and I would ask you to come forward."
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Oakland Police Department's Felony Assault Unit at 510-238-3426. Authorities are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that leads to an arrest.