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Arrest in case of 9-year-old girl hit by stray bullet in Prince William

She was critically injured while playing in a Woodbridge neighborhood, police say

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Investigators arrested a Triangle teenager on Thursday in connection with the wounding of a 9-year-old girl who was hit by a stray bullet and suffered critical injuries while playing in a Woodbridge neighborhood Tuesday, Prince William County police said.

Officers were called about 6:40 p.m. to the 15300 block of Gatehouse Terrace, where they found the girl suffering from a gunshot wound, police said.

Officers administered aid until rescue crews arrived, and the girl was flown to a hospital with life-threatening injuries, police said. Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham said Wednesday afternoon that she remained in an intensive care unit.

Late Thursday night, police officials announced they had arrested a 15-year-old male on charges that included aggravated malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding, shooting at an occupied vehicle and gun charges. The teenager was not identified by police.

Police arrested the teen in Woodbridge without incident, and he was being held at the juvenile detention center, according to a statement.

Newsham said an investigation revealed that a group of teenage males, possibly juveniles, were walking in the area when one opened fire at a car. Multiple shots were fired and one of the bullets struck the girl. The vehicle was also hit.

The harrowing scene was captured by a security camera.

Newsham said investigators were able to locate the driver of the car, but he revealed little about a motive for the shooting. The chief said one theory is that there was an existing dispute between the driver and the group of males.

Newsham said police have some leads on identifying the group of males but asked the public for additional tips. Newsham said he was dismayed by the shooting.

“I think it goes to the belief by some in the community that it’s okay to discharge a firearm in our community,” the chief said. “We need to change that.”

The shooting was captured by a neighbor’s surveillance camera and obtained by Fox 5 news.

The video shows five children playing on a sidewalk in a townhouse development, as four individuals in black walk up a parallel sidewalk on the far side of a parking lot. The children appear to notice the individuals, and one of the children mentions something about “gangsters.”

Soon after, a silver car enters the parking lot, drives by the individuals in black and then stops. The vehicle reverses and turns around, heading back toward the individuals in black. Suddenly, three gunshots can be heard and the car drives off.

The children scatter and a girl who is part of the group falls backward on the sidewalk and begins screaming. She says at one point, “I can’t feel my legs!” A woman runs to her and picks her up before the video ends.

Master Police Officer Renee Carr, a spokeswoman for the Prince William County Police Department, said investigators are looking into whether one or more of the individuals in black involved in the shooting were masked.