Source of Arrow That Hit Child Remains Mystery

The girl was on a school field trip

Investigators are still trying to determine who fired an arrow that hit an 8-year-old girl in the leg outside the Lawrence Hall of Science on Tuesday, University of California at Berkeley police said today.

The arrow pierced the girl's left leg around 10:10 a.m. while she was on a school field trip at the science center, located at 1 Centennial Drive in the hills above the university campus, police said.

She was taken to a hospital, where the arrow was surgically removed. UC Berkeley police Lt. Marc DeCoulode said today the girl is recovering and that she is likely being released from the hospital this afternoon.

He said police do not have any suspects in the case and it is not yet clear whether the person who shot the arrow was aiming for the girl. DeCoulode said UC Berkeley has an archery group, but the spot where they practice is on the other side of campus and "nowhere near this area."

Police released a photo of the arrow (posted below).

Rehan Alam, club president of CalArchery, said the group's faculty adviser has confirmed that the arrow that hit the girl was fired from a crossbow -- a weapon not allowed by the club.

He said crossbows are much more powerful than the bows used by the club. Police investigators are trying to reconstruct the arrow's trajectory but have not identified any suspects in the case, DeCoulode said.

Field trip chaperone Geoff Vassallo said the girl was hit while she was playing on a large sculpture of a whale in a museum courtyard.

Vassallo, a recreational archer and hunter from the Yosemite area, was at the museum with his son's class, and said he did not know the injured girl. He said the girl cried a little as she waited for an ambulance but said, "She was a pretty brave little girl."

Vassallo said it appeared the arrow came from below the courtyard, and that he hopes it was just an accident rather than someone acting maliciously.

He said that after the girl was struck, he scanned the area to see if anyone was running away, but didn't see anyone.

The other students visiting the museum were ushered inside to make sure no one else was hit.

Anyone who might have information about the case is asked to call UC Berkeley police at (510) 642-6760 or dispatch at (510) 642-3333.

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