CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Spanish Fork daycare shooting victim ‘recovering well,’ suspect faces reckless endangerment allegations

Jun 16, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Jul 3, 2023, 2:14 pm

a field near the spanish fork daycare where an accidental shooting occurred...

A farming field across the street west of the Leap Ahead Daycare facility, is shown Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Spanish Fork, Utah. A 2-year-old boy was shot in the head by a stray bullet while playing outside at day care in Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SPANISH FORK, Utah — Spanish Fork Police said a city attorney has filed charges against the man accused of shooting and injuring a 2-year-old in a Spanish Fork daycare in May. In a report from last week, police said the man faces charges of reckless endangerment and discharging a weapon within city limits.

On May 22, a small caliber bullet hit a 2-year-old in a fenced-in area outside of Leap Ahead Daycare.

According to an SFPD report, the bullet came from a farm just west of the daycare. The report said that at that farm, Hunter Jones was trying to shoot at a bird with an air rifle.

Police said the farm owner confirmed he allowed Jones to shoot birds on the property. However, the report noted, firing a weapon within city limits is against the law. 

Jones claimed he fired the weapon three to five times and had no knowledge of the daycare nearby. He also claimed he did not shoot toward any occupied buildings or the airport, but later revealed he did shoot in multiple directions. 

SFPD Detective Trevor Thompson said that based on their investigation, it’s most likely Jones did have the gun aimed at a bird in a tree.

“We can’t say with 100% certainty. But we can say ‘this is where he was shooting from, this is the direction, this is the caliber that was found.”

Recovering at home

As for the toddler, Thompson said his recovery is going well.

The bullet lodged in the 2-year-old’s brain remains. Doctors said the risk of removing the bullet through surgery was too high.

For now, doctors and the boy’s parents will keep an eye on the toddler.

“He is home. He has to be monitored at home to make sure nothing serious happens. I guess they want to make sure he doesn’t have any severe blows to the head,” Thompson said.

Takeaways from the Spanish Fork daycare shooting

Thompson said people need to be aware of their surroundings when shooting guns.

“I’ve never seen anything like this happen. But you always have that rule and I have now learned firsthand what can happen if you aren’t aware of where your bullet is going to go.”

The rule Thompson mentioned refers to a common gun safety rule: knowing what your target is and what’s behind it or around it.

Other common gun safety rules include keeping your gun unloaded when not using it, keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot and keeping your gun pointed in the safest direction possible.

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Spanish Fork daycare shooting victim ‘recovering well,’ suspect faces reckless endangerment allegations