Man arrested after stray bullet hit 11-year-old child in face on New Year’s Eve

Chief Brian O’Hara said the suspect was "drinking and shooting an AR-15 rifle into the air to celebrate New Year’s."

James William Turner/Hennepin County Jail

A Fridley, Minn., man was arrested Wednesday after a bullet from a gun he allegedly fired into the air on New Year’s Eve hit an 11-year-old girl in the face.

According to Crime Watch Minneapolis, police responded just after midnight Jan. 1 to a north Minneapolis residence on a report of a child who had been shot in the face. Police said over dispatch that the bullet came through the front of the house, Crime Watch reported.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara called a press conference Wednesday to announce that 44-year-old James William Turner, a convicted felon, had been arrested and booked on charges of first-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

“Unfortunately, for too long, the sound of gunfire is all too common on certain blocks in certain neighborhoods, so common that it becomes regular background noise. But let me be clear: it is totally not normal to have an 11-year-old child shot in the face through her bedroom window,” O’Hara said.

“It’s only by the grace of God that we are here today to talk about this as an injury and not as the first murder of a new year,” he added. “This shooting happened and this child was injured because of absolutely reckless celebratory behavior.”

O’Hara said the suspect was “drinking and shooting an AR-15 rifle into the air to celebrate New Year’s.”

“This was done by a person who was a convicted felon who should not even have a weapon in the first place,” he said, noting that he would like to see Turner charged in both state and federal court.

According to O’Hara, the victim’s injuries were non-life-threatening but “not a graze wound.” He said a “bullet fragment struck her in the side of the face.”

The victim’s mother, Shenedra Ross, has launched a GoFundMe page to help with moving expenses. Ross said her eldest daughter witnessed the “gruesome injury and is now traumatized and in shock.”

“They don’t wanna live in the neighborhood anymore let alone have to sleep in the bedroom where it happened,” Ross wrote. “We are seeking any help in refuge for relocation.”

Crime Watch reports that Turner pleaded guilty to a second-degree assault charge in July. His 46-month prison sentence was stayed by Judge Dyanna Street in a downward departure from sentencing guidelines.


Anthony Gockowski
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Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.