SALTSBURG (KDKA) — State police are investigating after a baby was struck by a bullet and injured Thursday night in Indiana County.

It happened around 7 p.m. on a private farm along Elders Ridge Road in Young Township, near Saltsburg.

Indiana County officials are calling it a hunting accident.

KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson Reports:

The baby’s father was reportedly sitting on a couch in their home holding the 5-day-old when a bullet came through a window, striking the infant’s head.

“Initial reports indicate the father heard a bang and felt the child’s head snap,” said Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.

The baby was flown to Children’s Hospital and underwent emergency surgery. The slug entered near the baby’s temple.

Officials say because the baby is so young, the wound is quite serious.

Dr. Barbara Gaines, the director of Trauma and Injury Prevention at Children’s Hospital, says it’s greatly different when a child is grazed, as opposed to an adult.

“The thing that protects bigger people from bullet wounds,” she says, “particularly superficial ones, is that they have a lot of padding — skin, soft tissue. If you think about a baby, they are lacking all of that.”

The bullet is believed to have been fired from private property nearby where hunters were trying to manage the deer population.

The single round is believed to have come from a .308 caliber hunting rifle.

“They were shooting at a deer,” said Dougherty. “It appears that one of the hunters may have missed high, the bullet then traveled into the residence.”

KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:

Investigators have their weapons and their hunter’s permits for examination as part of the case. The two have been cooperating.

State Police are considering this a criminal investigation, but say the shooting is being treated as accidental.

The Indiana County District Attorney will determine if charges will be filed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to this little boy and his family. This is just, it a tragedy,” he said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission is also investigating.

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