Toddler Shot by Stray Bullet at Utah Day Care While Playing Outside

Toddler Shot by Stray Bullet at Utah Day Care While Playing Outside
The Leap Ahead Daycare in Spanish Fork, Utah, on May 23, 2023. (Rick Bowmer/AP Photo)

SPANISH FORK, Utah—A 2-year-old boy shot in the head by a stray bullet while playing outside at day care in Utah is in stable condition, the facility’s owner and authorities said Tuesday.

Spanish Fork police believe the bullet came from a pellet or air gun shot from a farming field across the street west of the facility, Lt. Clay Slaymaker said. There are currently no suspects, but a bullet hole could be seen through the vinyl fence that wraps the play area where the incident occurred.

Lane Mugleston, the owner of Leap Ahead Daycare, confirmed that the shooting happened at his facility in Spanish Fork. He said two employees were outside when one near the toddler noticed him suddenly stumble, bleeding from the face, while children played in the fenced-in area outside the day care on Monday afternoon. Nobody heard the shots at the facility, which is in a light industrial area near an airport, he said.

“We’re absolutely dumbfounded. And we pray for the family and hope that the doctors are able to do everything needed, but we’re absolutely surprised,” Mugleston said.

Mugleston said employees contacted the toddler’s parents after observing the injuries and when doctors saw a small-caliber bullet lodged in the victim’s head on brain scans later in the evening, they called authorities. The young boy was then transported the child to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, 52 miles north of Spanish Fork.

“Detectives are continuing to investigate where the bullet may have been shot from and why,” police said in a statement. “It appears this was a tragic accident. Open fields are directly west of the day care and it is believed the round may have come from that area.”

By Sam Metz and Rick Bowmer