UPDATED: Toddler stable after being shot with small-caliber bullet at Spanish Fork day care
A 2-year-old child is currently in stable condition at Primary Children’s Hospital after being shot in the head with a small-caliber bullet while attending day care.
According to Spanish Fork Police Department Lt. Cory Slaymaker, around 3:40 p.m. on Monday, the child was seen stumbling and fell while on the grounds of the Leap Ahead Childcare Center at 2000 N. 300 West.
“They thought the kid had just stumbled at first; they didn’t know he had been shot,” Slaymaker said.
Because the child was bleeding, the day care called his parents who then brought him to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center where, hours later, the bullet was found through different scans, Slaymaker added.
“We are absolutely surprised, we are dumbfounded this would happen in Spanish Fork,” said Lane Mugleston, co-owner of Leap Ahead. “I’m in shock, but my No. 1 priority is the safety of our employees and our families and kids. So I’m still gathering information and processing.”
According to a press release, the report was originally made with the Springville Police Department, as Leap Ahead has two Springivlle locations in addition to the newer Spanish Fork facility. All of the facilities are owned and operated by Chrissy and Lane Mugleston.
Spanish Fork police are investigating what they believe is “more a high-power pellet gun-type wound.”
The bullet hole was found by police in the privacy fence on the side of the building. Children play throughout the day in the fenced-off areas outside, though they were kept inside Tuesday as the investigation continued.
“Even this morning, the officer who’s on it told us that there shouldn’t be any worry at all, for any of our parents in this location or our kids, and that we could totally take them outside. We just decided — my wife and I — that it would be better, let’s just keep them all inside for the time being,” Mugleston said.
At this time, the department is contacting business owners and others in the area, just south of the Spanish Fork airport, to see if anyone was shooting airsoft or pellet guns or saw someone else who was.
The child care center is located just east of the Spanish Fork airport while the privacy fence where the bullet hole was found faces an open farming area and field. The location for the facility, Mugleston said, was the fourth choice but the couple felt it was the best available and just “happened” to be in light industrial space.
“We were looking to expand to a commercial location, and the requirements to be able to have a commercial location are pretty extensive,” he said. “In a lot of the areas in both Springville and Spanish Fork, there just wasn’t availability. So this turned out to be a great location.”
Mugleston asked members of the public to pray for the child and for people, particularly those “practicing with guns,” to be vigilant and answer for possible consequences for their actions. Slaymaker told the Daily Herald there are no indications any individual was targeted and that any more information would be made public once it is known.