A North Carolina girl will have a BB projectile dangerously close to an artery in her neck for the rest of her life after being shot while getting off the school bus.
According to police, an 11-year-old victim—identified by local outlets as Lillie Lewis— arrived at the emergency room suffering from a neck injury that was discovered to be a BB gunshot.
The authorities were alerted about the child’s injuries and she was transported to another hospital for medical treatment where it was determined that surgery was not an option.
The bullet that hit Lewis was only millimeters from hitting a major artery in her neck and removal could cause more damage, WRAL reported.
BB and Airsoft Guns
BB guns, similar to air guns, use compressed air to propel spherical projectiles rather than gunpowder like a typical revolver. Due to this, there are currently no federal laws regulating BB or airsoft guns and ammunition.
According to Leonard Romero, an independent forensic firearms examiner, modern BB and airsoft guns are often sophisticated enough that they can result in death.
Not only do many BB and air guns look and feel like real firearms, these guns can also shoot at similar velocities, including .177 and .22 caliber pellets and BBs.
“Anything above 200 feet per second is going to penetrate skin and some of these things are upwards of 1,100 feet per second,” Romero said. “It’s not really accurate over a long distance but it’s moving.”
Often, BB guns are used by individuals for target practice or to hunt small game such as rodents while airsoft guns are commonly used in military training due to the weak recoil.
Authorities determined that the incident occurred at 3:15 p.m. as Lewis was getting off the school bus.
Lewis told local outlet WRAL that she felt something hit her in the side of her neck as she was walking toward her house but did not see where it came from.
“I put my stuff down, and it felt like there was water on me,” Lewis said. “So, when I turned on the light, there was blood, and I was bleeding from my neck.”
According to Romero, BB and airsoft projectiles are often small enough that they are tough to see.
“This thing is moving at a really good clip,” Romero said.
Although Rocky Mount Police Public Information Officer Ricky Jackson told Newsweek that Lewis’ condition was unknown, Lewis told WRAL she expected a quick recovery.
Authorities ask anyone with information about the incident to call the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1411, call Crimestoppers at 252-977-1111 for cash rewards, or Text-A-Tip (text RMPOL and your message to 274637).
Other Air Gun-Related Incidents
Earlier this month, a North Carolina woman was charged with second-degree murder after allegedly killing her cousin with a pellet gun.
Authorities found the victim, 42-year-old Christopher Joe Pearce, lying in the yard and suffering from wounds to his chest. His cousin, Rachel Ferguson, 23, was arrested according to the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office.
A 10-year-old in Georgia died in February this year after he was accidentally shot in the head with a pellet gun. According to police, the boy died three days later at the hospital.
In March, Four Pennsylvania teenagers were arrested after firing off pellet guns at a middle school. According to reports, at least three students and one faculty member were hit by the gel pellets.
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