MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The man who fired the shot that injured an 11-year-old girl in Minneapolis was drinking and firing off an AR-15 rifle to celebrate New Year's, police said Wednesday as they announced an arrest in the case.
Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara says the man involved in the shooting is a convicted felon who shouldn't have a weapon to begin with. The suspect, a Fridley man, will now face assault and weapon charges related to the shooting, O'Hara said.
"This shooting happened, and this child was injured because of absolutely reckless, celebratory behavior," explained Chief O'Hara. "Drinking and shooting an AR-15 rifle into the air to celebrate New Year's, endangering everyone around them and an entire neighborhood."
O'Hara says it was a miracle the girl wasn't more seriously harmed by the dangerous actions of the gunman.
"It was only by the grace of God that we found an 11-year-old child with an injury and not dead," continued Chief O'Hara.
Tuesday, FOX 9 heard from the young girl who was hurt, 11-year-old Laneria Wilson, and her mother. Making matters more tragic, Wilson is just days from celebrating her 12th birthday. But first, now she needs surgery to remove the bullet from her face.
At the same time, her mother is now searching for a new house, now feeling unsafe at her former home. An online fundraiser to help the family has raised nearly $2,500 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Unfortunately for Minneapolis, this wasn't the only incident where children were endangered by gunfire in the Twin Cities over the holidays. Days before Christmas, a day care was struck by gunfire in Minneapolis -- while Santa was there visiting the children.
On New Year's Eve, minutes before Wilson was shot, a 10-year-old boy was injured after being shot in the stomach at his home. The investigation into that shooting is ongoing.