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PD: Child injured by random gunfire in Phoenix

Child hit by random gunfire on NYE
Posted at 10:56 PM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2020-01-01 19:08:36-05

PHOENIX — A 3-year-old boy is recovering after being struck by random gunfire on New Year's Eve.

The toddler was grazed by a bullet around 9:30 p.m. while playing in his backyard near 35th Avenue and Van Buren Street.

The gunfire, police say, came from a nearby home where people were shooting their guns while nearby fireworks were going off.

"They just kept reloading and firing rounds," said Marcos Pasillas, who lives next door to the injured toddler.

"It sounded like a war zone here," said Claudia Muñoz, whose son, Antonio, was shot.

There were not any soldiers though, just people in the neighborhood popping off with their pistols while Muñoz's kids, nieces, and nephews played in the backyard.

"It was like 15 or 16 kids. I’m surprised another kid didn’t get hit," said Muñoz.

Two hours before the new decade, the kids were enjoying some small fireworks, when the family heard a much louder pop.

"We heard like six gunshots in a row, and my little son starts yelling. And we don’t know what’s going on. So my brother grabbed him and ran inside, pulled down his pants, and we noticed that he was shot," said Muñoz.

Fortunately, little Antonio was just grazed. "He was shot in the back of his thigh, like right under his butt," said Muñoz. "I'm surprised it didn't pierce his body."

Investigators found five bullet holes in the fence across the alley, and they say are still investigating where the gunfire was coming from and who was pulling the trigger.

"They were shooting directly into our yard," said Muñoz. "I'm very furious, because all my kids were back there, and it could've been a lot worse."

Other people in the neighborhood even continued shooting after the near tragedy.

"After 12 o'clock here they were a whole lot of people in this neighborhood firing. Probably two people over there, over there," said Pasillas.

"It sounded really bad. Even the cops were like, 'I wish we busted all these people,'" said Muñoz, chuckling.

The mother is unsure when she will explain the gravity of what happened to her son.

"I don't know-how. He's three years old," she said. "[But] we’re going to try to remember this night as a lucky night."

Antonio, fortunately, will see four years old in 2020. While some men in the area will likely see a jail cell.

"I hope they get what is coming for them because they could've killed a child," said Muñoz.

The mother was under the impression that multiple men had been arrested in connection to the shooting.

Phoenix police tell ABC15 no arrests have been made and there was "some follow up conducted and evidence is being gathered and analyzed."

The suspects may face felony charges. Shannon's Law is named after a 14-year-old girl who was killed when a bullet fell from the sky. Violations are a Class 6 Felonies, and sentences can range from probation to several years in prison.