Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sheriff’s officers seeking answers in girl’s shooting

5-year-old on life support after presumed errant bullet struck her in head

February 26, 2008


Linwood girl shot, in critical condition

A Linwood family is praying for miracle as their daughter fights for her life. Five-year-old Katherine Cook remains in critical condition tonight after she was shot in the head over the weekend. 6News reporter Cory Smith has more. Enlarge video

Katherine Cook

Katherine Cook

— A 5-year-old Linwood-area girl clung to life Monday, two days after a bullet struck her in the head as she played in her backyard.

Katherine Cook was in critical condition at a Kansas City area hospital.

"A lot of people are praying for her," said Pat Cook, Katherine's grandmother.

Meanwhile, Leavenworth County Sheriff's officers tried to figure out where the bullet came from and who fired it. Leavenworth County Sheriff Dave Zoellner, who called the shooting a tragedy, said Monday he didn't believe the girl was the victim of a drive-by shooting or was targeted by whoever shot her.

"We have no indication that that's the case," Zoellner said.

At 4:40 p.m. Saturday, Katherine was sitting on the back porch of her home while her 6- and 7-year-old brothers played nearby, Cook said. They heard a shot, or something that sounded like a firecracker, she said. Katherine screamed and then fell, her grandmother said.

The girl was flown by helicopter to a Kansas City-area hospital. The bullet struck her just above one eye but didn't pass through her head, Pat Cook said. Doctors do not plan to remove the bullet, she said. It was not known how much damage the bullet may have caused, but on Monday the girl did raise one leg, Cook said.

"She's heavily sedated," she said. "She was doing a wee bit better. It's a miracle that she's doing as well as she is."

Doctors planned to slowly begin removing life-support devices from the girl to see how Katherine reacts, Cook said.

Sheriff's officers continued their search of the area around the girl's house at 12480 170th St., which is about four miles east of Linwood. They set up a checkpoint, stopping motorists on Monday, in hopes of finding someone who could provide information about Katherine's shooting. Anyone with information about the shooting late Saturday afternoon is encouraged to call the Leavenworth County sheriff's office, (913) 758-4082.

According to a Jefferson County hunting guide, if X-rays can tell officers what kind of bullet is lodged in the girl's head, that should help in reconstructing the shooting.

"Once you are able to figure out what it is, where she was and what she was doing, they ought to be able to figure out which direction (the bullet) came from," Mike Nickels said.

Without more information about the bullet, there are too many possibilities to speculate much on the incident, Nickels said. For rifle bullets to travel long distances, they would have to be shot at an elevated angle, he said.

"Normally what happens is your trajectory fails so quickly," Nickels said. "If you are going to shoot straight across a field, the bullet would hit the ground after 500 yards. It is going to drop several feet."

Moreover, any deflection - even from striking brush - would throw the bullet off even more, he said.

Zoellner said it's not unusual for people to hunt in the area of Katherine's home.

"It's a wooded area, and it's not uncommon for people to do target practice in the area," he added.

6News intern Cory Smith and Tonganoxie Mirror news editor Shawn Linenberger contributed to this story.


Dixie Jones 10 years, 2 months ago

no one has a place to pass judgement multi sounds as though it has hit close to home for you, my prayers to the family and to this small child.

ksdivakat 10 years, 2 months ago

I saw on the news last night that they interviewed an older gentleman who lives in the area and he said he doesnt believe it was random, he said hes had cows shot and the neighbor has had a horse shot, and so he doesnt believe it was a random innocent act. I just pray for this child that her little body will heal, and the family will heal and that the police will find whoever done this, and find out it truly was an accident, I just cant stand the thought of a grown person shooting a child so innocent on purpose.....My prayers to the family, may God be with you during this time.

unite2revolt 10 years, 2 months ago

Just as a reminder to target shooters, make sure you are shooting down into the ground and not up at something on a hill. It significantly reduces the chances of your bullets going stray like this.

The part of the story I don't understand is how they report hearing a single shot fired. If target shooting was the behind this you'd expect more than a single shot would have been heard.

To me that would reduce it to either an accident or a stray bullet from a hunter. The only thing that really has an open season right now are rabbits,squirrels, and crows. So if it was a hunter than you'd expect the bullet to be a small caliber.

Jean1183 10 years, 2 months ago

One of the rules of Hunter Safety is : "Know your target and what is beyond".

I know a couple of people have been killed in Kansas the last couple of years by shooters not being absolutely certain of their targets. One was a turkey hunter who shot another (his friend) who was carrying a turkey decoy on his back. The hunter just saw a turkey's head (the decoy) moving through the woods and shot at it........hitting his friend.

The most recent incident was a shooter (since he was doing this illegally I hate to even call him a hunter) shot out of his truck window into some goose decoys killing the young man who was using those decoys to hunt.

When a hunter is absolutely sure of his target (not just what it appears to be) then he needs to be aware what is on the other side of that target. Bullets can and do pass completely through animals and of course if the hunter misses, where will the bullet end up?

If it was a hunter either they did not follow Hunter Safety rules or they never took Hunter Safety.

The hunting guide is correct: if they can determine the caliber of the bullet, it will give them a good deal of info to follow up on.

Prayers for Katherine and her family.

rachelp2005 10 years, 2 months ago

This is VERY personal for me, seeing how I am part of this family's "church family", and a previous Sunday School teacher for Katherine. She is slowly progressing. We are seeing little improvements at a time, but we still have a long road ahead of us. I know the family, as well as their church family, appreciates the prayers that are being said. We have a strong belief in the power of prayer. Please pray for the family also, they are going through such a hard time, especially the older ones.

50YearResident 10 years, 2 months ago

Has anyone thought this could be a tragic accident caused by three small kids playing with a gun? It usually happens with one cops and robbers shot to the head from an "unloaded" gun which is then thrown away or hidden by the shooter. I am not accusing anyone, just posing a theory.

Steve Jacob 10 years, 2 months ago

50YearResident...I am sure the police thought of that enought to ask, or will check it out.

trykinjay 10 years, 2 months ago

For the guy who thinks the children were involved, this family does not own any guns....I agree that whoever did this needs to come forward....They may fear the punishment, but the punishment that will eventually be given to them will be far worse than anything our legal system can hand out.

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