STOCKTON (CBS 13) – A 10-year-old girl was hit with stray bullets in broad daylight and Stockton Police say the suspect is still at large.
The incident happened in a historically high-crime neighborhood in Stockton on Tuesday afternoon.
The girl’s family says she was just trying to get some fresh air and play outside on a cool, fall day. They said Michelle is expected to be okay, but she was hit in the back, and the bullet is now lodged in her chest. She’s now awaiting surgery at San Joaquin Hospital in Stockton.
Along East Clay Road, you’ll see plenty of guard dogs and wrought iron fences. Those two means of protection did nothing for Michelle, who was struck Tuesday just after four in the afternoon.
Michael Miller has spent almost the last decade living in Stockton. “I walk nights with the dog,” he said.
He’s heard of plenty of violence in his neighborhood, and so have police.
“Historically, that area is a high crime area,” said Joe Silva with the Stockton Police Department.
Silva said learning a ten-year-old girl got shot, hit by a stray bullet in broad daylight outside of her own home, is still surprising.
“She was just in her backyard doing what ten-year-old little girls do,” Silva said.
At least two houses were hit, but no one else was hurt. You can see bullets holes in the front of the house next door.
Down the street, Yasmeen Arriaga heard the gunshots and came outside to see what happened. She says she’s now worried about her young family, with police still looking for the suspect, who they call “bold and brazen.”
“We don’t have much to go on because we don’t have a good suspect description. Just that he was a Hispanic male adult,” said Silva.
Police will spend the next few days putting extra resources into patrolling the area, but neighbors say they don’t feel that will make their homes any safer.
“What happens when you turn the lights on? The cockroaches scatter. You don’t kill them, they just scatter- and then then they come back,” Miller said.
The suspect was last seen getting into a car and fleeing the scene. Police say there was a group of people standing outside on the street around where the suspect was aiming, and they’re hopeful that could lead to a motive, but at this point in the investigation, they can’t corroborate that information.