Winton boy, 7, shot in the lower abdomen area
MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Authorities are asking for the public's help tracking down several suspects in a shooting that injured a 7-year-old boy. The second grade student is recovering from surgery after being hit by a stray bullet.
Evidence markers and crime tape covered the streets where a 7-year-old was shot late Tuesday night. Detectives say the little boy was playing with his friends near the Winton School District office when an argument broke out between four suspects in a dark colored Honda and a man walking down Walnut Avenue. Moments later that man started shooting toward the car, with the kids nearby.
"They witnessed the incident and heard the gunfire," said Deputy Delray Shelton. "They tried to run away and take cover to protect themselves, and that's when a 7-year-old child was struck in his lower abdomen area."
Beronica Correa heard the medi-flight helicopter land near her home, but had no idea the victim was her children's friend.
Correa added, "Oh my god, I don't know, it's making me freak out right now, I'm going to start crying."
Superintendent Randall Heller says the little boy is a second grader at Crookham Elementary School -- and lives just across the street from the district office.
Heller added, "He comes over and asks me how I'm doing, we talk about school and what he wants to be when he grows up, and it's like you connect with kids here, so when you hear something terrible happen like this it really tears you up."
This small community has been plagued by gunfire since last month. On July 5th, a mother of two was killed just down the street from this latest crime. That same night a young army reservist was seriously wounded at a nearby intersection. And one week later, a man and woman were hurt during a shooting investigators tied to an illegal marijuana grow. The sheriff's office says it has added extra patrols as a result.
"The deputies are out in the Winton area," said Delray Shelton. "They're being vigilant, proactive and reactive, and they'll continue to fight crime."
Detectives interviewed the child's mother -- and they're still investigating why he was playing outside after 11pm.
Wednesday the school district had a grief counselor on hand to help other students cope with the crime.
crimetracker, shooting, winton, merced county, local, sara sandrik
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