PHOENIX (KPHO) — A 9-year-old boy struck in the neck by a ricocheted bullet while out hunting or shooting with a group in rural Tonopah died Thursday morning, said Christ Hegstrom, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
The boy was shot early Wednesday morning as he and four others were in the dry Hassayampa River bottom near 368th Avenue just south of Buckeye Road and about two miles from his home, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Joaquin Enriquez said.
Two adults, ages 22 and 20, the boy’s 15-year-old sister and another 15-year-old were shooting or hunting when the victim was struck. They immediately drove him back to his home and called 911 about 5 a.m., Enriquez said.
He was flown to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in “very, very critical condition,” Enriquez said.
The sheriff’s office did not release the identities of anyone involved in the incident.
Enriquez said the wound was caused by a round fired from a handgun, but who fired the gun was not immediately clear.
Enriquez said deputies interviewed all parties, and their stories appeared to match.
Hegstrom said no charges had been filed Thursday, but the investigation was continuing.
He said the parents were aware the children were out and were not concerned because they were under adult supervision. He said the shooting appears to be accidental and that impairment did not appear to be a factor.