Oakland Police Chief says 'put down the guns' after 6-year-old hit in head by celebratory gunfire

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A six-year-old girl is recovering in an Oakland hospital after being struck in the head with a flying bullet on New Year's.

The girl's family was outside a home in Oakland watching fireworks after midnight when a stray bullet injured the child.

RELATED: Police say 6-year-old Oakland girl struck by 'celebratory gunfire'

What was supposed to be a special night to ring in the New Year turned into a near tragedy in the backyard of a home on Thermal Street in East Oakland.

Family and friends were watching fireworks past midnight when a flying bullet struck the six-year-old right in the head.

"I'm actually sad that this happened to them, on their watch," said next-door neighbor Latoya Keller

Keller says hearing rapid gunfire is common at the stroke of midnight during New Year's. Last year, her mom's front windshield was hit with a bullet while the car was parked on their driveway.

"That's part of the reason I stay at home, is people are out there doing what they shouldn't be," she said.

Police say this time around, another parked vehicle was also struck by celebratory gunfire.

ShotSpotter technology picked up multiple gunshots fired around the time the little girl was hit. The bullet could have come from anywhere within just short of a mile away.

Oakland police chief Anne Kirkpatrick visited the girl and her family at UCSF Benioff Children's in Oakland.

"This is our mantra, it is put the guns down. It is foolishness, it is unnecessary, and in this case, quite an innocent child was affected and harmed by this foolishness," said Chief Kirkpatrick.

The unidentified girl is said to be in stable condition and is expected to survive.

Police are asking for the public's help to catch the person responsible for firing the weapon.
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