Hammond police are reminding people to be safe and not fire guns into the sky during Fourth of July celebrations after a 13-year-old was hit in the head by a falling bullet over the weekend, according to police.
A group of children were playing basketball outside around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the 7300 block of Harrison Avenue “when one of the children suddenly fell down,” according to Lt. Steve Kellogg. Witnesses thought it may have been a seizure and immediately called for an ambulance, according to Kellogg.
“At the hospital, it was learned that the child was struck from a falling bullet that was shot into the sky by someone in the nearby community,” police said.
The 13-year-old boy from Hammond was flown to Comer’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago, where he remains in critical condition, police said Monday.
Police believe “that this bullet was most likely fired into the air like a firework,” Kellogg said.
Anyone with information about someone in the south Hammond area shooting off a firearm Saturday evening is asked to call Detective Lt. Mark Tharp at 219-852-2988 or Detective Sgt. Mark Ferry at 219-852-2991.
“Unfortunately, this is a common action by many people who own guns in our city and they need to know this action has consequences and will be dealt with severely by the Hammond Police Department,” according to Kellogg.
Hammond police ask that people keep Fourth of July celebrations to “use of legal fireworks only” and “remind the public that it is never legal to discharge a firearm within city limits.”
If anyone believes someone is firing a firearm during celebrations, police ask people to “immediately call 911,” Kellogg said.
“In the aftermath of this past weekend’s tragic events, the Hammond Indiana Police Department is asking for the public’s help in preventing future incidents,” Kellogg said.
There have been incidents involving falling bullets in the past, Kellogg said. Several years ago, Kellogg said he responded to a person who was shot in the leg by a bullet that came through a kitchen window.
Police also receive calls from people who wake up in the morning and find their cars were struck overnight, leaving dents and holes in the vehicle or broken windows, Keloog said.
Leading up to the holiday weekend, Gary Police Department spokeswoman, Lt. Dawn Westerfield, said she wanted to remind the public that “there is no such thing as a stray bullet.” Police “absolutely don’t want” anyone to be injured during festivities over the holiday weekend, Westerfield said.