Child was struck by stray bullet as man shot birds near Spanish Fork day care, police say

The man is considered a “person of interest” in the case.

Investigators have identified a “person of interest” after a 2-year-old boy was struck in the head by a stray bullet Monday at a Spanish Fork day care, police announced Wednesday.

The man was shooting birds with a .22-caliber air rifle in an area just west of the day care Monday at the same time the boy was shot. The man is cooperating with investigators, police said.

It’s unclear if the man will face charges, police said. The investigation is ongoing, but once complete, the Spanish Fork city attorney’s office will decide whether or not to file charges. The man’s name has not been released.

The child was playing outside in a fenced-in area with several other children when he was struck at the Leap Ahead Childcare Center, located near 2000 North and 300 West in Spanish Fork.

Two adults were watching the children at the time, and they told police the boy “appeared to stumble” and was seen “bleeding from the face,” a news release states.

Unaware that the boy had been shot, day care workers called the child’s parents, who took the boy to a hospital. Scans there showed that the boy had a small caliber bullet lodged in his head, police said.

The 2-year-old was then transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital. According to police, the boy remained hospitalized Wednesday. His condition wasn’t specified but he is considered stable. The child hasn’t been identified.

Police on Tuesday called the shooting a “tragic accident.” Investigators said the bullet that hit the child was likely fired from a field directly west of the day care facility.

The field adjacent to the day care belongs to the city of Spanish Fork, Utah County property records indicate. No shooting is allowed in that field or the farmlands beyond it because the plots are within Spanish Fork city limits, Lt. Cory Slaymaker with Spanish Fork police said.

Leap Ahead Childcare Center is one of three Leap Ahead day care locations, according to a company website. The two others are located in Springville; the Spanish Fork facility recently opened.

According to a GoFundMe page organized by a coworker of the injured child’s mother, doctors are working to determine whether they will surgically remove the bullet or leave it inside the boy’s head. The mother, who has four other children, has been missing work and sitting in the hospital with her young son as bills begin to accumulate.

The purpose of the fundraiser is to help offset those bills, the organizer wrote. A spokesperson with GoFundMe said Wednesday that the company had verified the organizer’s connection to the mother. As of Wednesday afternoon, the page had raised $250 of its $4,000 goal.