2-year-old Johnson County girl struck by bullet in critical condition

Local News

A young girl remains in critical condition Monday after she was hit in the head by a bullet in Johnson County.

Investigators were back on the scene at the home on Trout Run Road in Johnson County Monday afternoon.

Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Tester says his investigators are working to determine how a bullet could hit 2-year-old Ariel Salaices.

As of Monday, Ariel remains in critical condition at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. 

On Sunday, Ariel’s mother, Christina Salaices, told us it happened the incident happened Friday afternoon.

She said her husband was watching Ariel and her brother as they were playing in the backyard.

“He was making cookies for them believe it or not,” Christina said. “Next thing I know, she’s outside and she had somehow made it from the playground to the stairs, which is probably a couple of feet, it wasn’t too far, but she had fallen off the playground set, walked to the stairs and collapsed in front of him.”

At the time, Christina said they thought she had fallen. She said when they arrived at the hospital, they learned a bullet had hit Ariel in the head, which caused a stroke.

Sheriff Tester said they are still investigating but it appears it was a stray bullet that hit Ariel.

Certified Firearm Instructor Kenneth Potter said you should never randomly fire a weapon near a home.

“Ignorance and carelessness are considered the two leading causes in accidents,” Potter said. “If you’re going to be carrying a gun, shooting a gun, you need to know all you can about the safety rules and location of the shooting.”

It’s something Christina wants people to keep in mind as Ariel remains in critical condition.

“She’s the sweetest little girl in the whole wide world,” Christina said. “She is super spunky, oh my gosh, and she’s got a little attitude so we’re hoping to get that back.”

Sheriff Tester said if they find someone responsible, they will be charged with reckless endangerment.

If you have any information, you’re asked to call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office at 423-727-7761.

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