San Jose

Teen Girl Suffers Collapsed Lung Following Pellet Gun Attack in San Jose

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A 15-year-old girl is in intensive care after a pellet gun attack in San Jose. It happened as she was walking near Valley Fair Mall.

Gianna Vitarelli is currently in pediatric intensive care at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center with a collapsed lung. She told NBC Bay Area Sunday that she’s disheartened someone would shoot her with a pellet gun.

Vitarelli described the pellet gun attack that happened Friday afternoon in San Jose as she was walking with a friend from Valley Fair toward a home.

“A car pulls up behind us, shoots me in the back and then, drives away,” she said.

Vitarelli suffered a collapsed lung and fractured rib. In an X-ray, the pellet was still lodged in her body because doctors said it was too dangerous to remove.

“But it collapsed my lung. It almost hit my heart, it broke my ribs, and it caused internal bleeding. Also, because I was shot, it may have been a funny prank. But our whole summer trip was canceled because of this. So it’s very hard. It’s not a joke,” Vitarelli said.

The Notre Dame High School student said she had to have a tube inserted into her lungs to help her breathe .

Vitarelli and her family believe the attack may have been a prank, perhaps even one encouraged on Tik Tok as a challenge.

“I’m just very confused. I don’t know why anyone would shoot me?” she said.

Michele Vitarelli, Giannas father says what’s important now is making sure people understand pellet gun injuries can be life threatening.

“I just want people to know that there's real physical damage that can happen. It’s just not a little simple poke on the skin. It really caused great bodily harm. It could’ve killed her,” he said.

Michele Vitarelli said that police and hospital staff told them there had been at least three other pellet gun attacks with injuries reported the same day. But San Jose police have not yet confirmed that.

Gianna will have to undergo more tests. It’s also not certain yet when she will be able to leave the hospital soon.

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