Fresh 48 issued after child shot at River Bend Nature Center

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The Wichita Falls Police Department is investigating after a child was struck by a shot at the River Bend Nature Center on Thursday.

This is an ongoing investigation and WFPD is looking for tips and information that might help. Wichita Falls Crime Stoppers have also issued a Fresh 48 in this case, meaning that a tip leading to an arrest could earn you an expanded cash reward.

Police responded to a call at the River Bend Nature Center on Thursday and they found an 18-month-old boy had been shot in the leg. WFPD PIO Sgt. Charlie Eipper said the caliber of the weapon is unknown, as well as where that shot came from.

“The mother was reportedly walking with the victim and her two other children when she heard what sounded like a firework,” Eipper said. “A few moments after, the toddler started crying and a gunshot wound was discovered.”

The child was rushed to United Regional and then transferred to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth where he is undergoing surgery.

“They expected the fragment was still lodged in the child’s leg, so we’ll probably find out more after the surgery is done and we can get that fragment back in to investigate it,” Eipper said.

Eipper said citizens are not in danger as this was an isolated incident.

“We have no indication or evidence to show that this is something where our citizens should be afraid of going out or even going to the nature center to visit,” Eipper said.

Liz Martin, River Bend Nature Center executive director, agrees.

“We have been open for over more than 25 years and we’ve never had an incident, so I really can’t comment. I think people should feel very safe,” Martin said.

Martin said a Turtle Time program was being held at the time of the shooting and was assisting the child until the ambulance and police arrived. However Eipper said there were no other witnesses that were able to give information to help the case.

If you have any information on this crime, you can report any tips to Wichita Falls Crime Stoppers at (940) 322-9888. Long-distance callers should dial 1-800-322-9888. You can also use the P3 Tips app on your mobile device or visit their website here.

As always with Crime Stoppers, you never have to leave your name, and you could earn a cash reward if your tip leads to an arrest and board approval.

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