Va. boy, 7, dies after being hit by stray bullet on Fourth of July

A 7-year-old Virginia boy died Friday, a day after being hit by a stray bullet while awaiting the start of a July 4th fireworks display, authorities said.

Police in Chesterfield County, Va., which borders Richmond, said they believe Brandon Mackey was struck on the top of the head by a bullet fired into the air. They said he was walking with his father in a crowd at Swift Creek Reservoir when he fell, bleeding. He died at a hospital the next day, police said.

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The police said that they believe the shot was fired as much as five miles away, with no intent to cause harm. Police are investigating.

The speed of a descending bullet appears to be substantially less than its speed at the point when it leaves t he muzzle of a gun. Air resistance retards the bullet on its descent. However, discussion in medical journalis indicates that gunshots fired into the air may nevertheless cause injury or death.

One study in a journal devoted to trauma identified 118 people who had been hit by spent bullets, with most of them struck in t he head. According to the study, the mortality rate was 32 per cent.

 
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