A man shooting “trash birds” near a Utah daycare may have fired the stray round that struck a 2-year-old child in the head, according to police.
Police reported that several children were playing Monday in a Spanish Fork daycare's fenced-in yard when two adult supervisors saw one of the tots stumble, bleeding from the face. It wasn’t until the child’s parents took him to the hospital that doctors discovered a small-caliber bullet in the child’s head.
Detectives’ investigation led them to a local man who said he was using a .22 caliber air rifle to shoot birds in a field near the daycare around the time the toddler was hit, police said in an update on Wednesday.
“He was just shooting what he called ‘trash birds’ in the area west of the daycare,” Lieutenant Cory Slaymaker of the Spanish Fork Police Department told The Messenger by email.
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The man’s identity has not been released and he has not been formally charged with a crime.
"He did not even know there was a daycare facility [near his property]," Slaymaker additionally told local outlet KSL.
The child is listed in stable condition, according to police.
Provided that all other local, state, and federal laws are followed, Utah law allows the killing of some species of "nuisance" birds without a permit. The law notes certain magpies, crows, and cowbirds fall within that category and states that any ammunition used must be "fired from an air rifle, air pistol, or a 22 caliber rimfire firearm." According to the law, the birds must also be preying on plants or crops, or are so great in number that they present a health hazard or other nuisance.
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