Boy, 10, shot while watching Fourth of July fireworks in Merced

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A 10-year-old boy is recovering after he was shot on the Fourth of July in Merced.

Fireworks scattered across Cortona Court are remnants of what started as a fun Fourth of July celebration. But it took a terrible turn just before 11 p.m. Saturday.

"The kids were watching the fireworks, they heard the kids start cheering, and all of a sudden the 10-year-old boy ran up to them screaming," said Lt. Matt Williams of the Merced Police Department.

Williams says the child's parents initially thought he was injured by the pyrotechnics. "He was bleeding from his leg, but he was in a lot of pain. So the parents took him to the hospital, still thinking that it was a fireworks accident."

Once the boy arrived at Mercy Medical Center, doctors discovered he wasn't struck by fireworks; he was hit by a bullet. Merced police say the young victim had been kneeling on the ground when that bullet pierced his leg and arm.

No one in the neighborhood heard or saw anything suspicious, so investigators believe it was likely from someone shooting into the sky to celebrate. "The bullet that hit him struck him with enough force that if it had hit him in a vital area, it could have killed him," said Williams.

Now, authorities and neighbors are hoping whoever is to blame will learn from this near tragedy. "Please don't do that because stuff like that happens," said Destiny Mancilla, a neighbor.
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