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Father blames stray bullet for 5-year-old daughter's New Year injury

ShootingsNew Year's Day

An Indiana father believes a stray bullet hit his 5-year-old daughter in the hand during a New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Kokomo, Saturday.

Patrick Downing, his wife and their two young children were standing in a crowd near Sycamore and Union streets waiting for the ball to drop and the fireworks to go off. When the clock struck midnight, Downing said something struck his daughter Olivia's hand.

"All of a sudden my daughter says, 'Something hit me. Something hit my hand'," said Downing.

When Downing took her glove off, he saw she was bleeding. He took her to a hospital where an x-ray revealed she'd broken a bone.

"I thought she had been shot," said Downing.

He said he found proof of that when he took out the stroller Olivia was sitting in and found a 9 mm spent bullet amidst the confetti. Downing believes someone nearby fired a shot into air to celebrate the New Year.

He said his 21-month-old son was in the stroller just moments before his daughter sat down and he can't help but think of all the other places the bullet could have landed.

"A lot of what if's that I really don't like to think about, because things could have been a lot worse."

While Olivia is going to be okay, she is going to miss some dance practices and some of her favorite outdoor winter activities. Downing hopes people will remember what happened next time they point a gun towards the sky.

"The person that shot that gun, I guarantee doesn't realize that he's harmed a person's life," said Downing. "We are so lucky."

Kokomo police are trying to figure out where the bullet came from. If you have any information, contact the police department.

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