Ariel Salaices was with her two older brothers on a slide when she was hit in the head, ABC News reported, citing the Johnson County Sherriff’s Department.
Salaices’ mother, Christina, said one of her brothers screamed for their father after she was shot. The little girl, who lives in Mountain City, fell off her playground set, walked toward the house and collapsed in front of her father and brothers, she told ABC. “If it weren’t for him and my husband, she probably wouldn’t have had a chance.” She said when Salaices' father got her to the hospital “it didn’t look good.”
Salaices is now on life support after being flown to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.
The bullet severed an artery and caused extensive damage to the back of her brain, her family’s GoFundMe page said. “She ended up having a stroke, and that being said she has no function or blood flow to the trauma area,” the page added.
Salaices went through a 2 plus-hour surgery and as of Friday afternoon the girl “is doing a bit better,” an update from the GoFundMe page said.
Salaices’ family is watching over her while staying nearby at the Ronald McDonald House, ABC News said.
Police are still trying to figure out where the shot came from, and the girl’s mother told ABC News there is a gun range near their home.
“She has already proved she's so strong and we have many plans for that little girl,” her family said on her GoFundMe page.