Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2008

Linwood shooting under investigation

February 28, 2008

A 5-year-old Linwood-area girl was receiving food through tubes Tuesday, just three days after a bullet struck her as she played in her backyard, according to the girl's grandmother, Pat Cook.

Katherine Cook was taken to an area hospital Saturday after a bullet struck her in the head.

Katherine Cook was in critical condition at a Kansas City area hospital Monday. However, on Tuesday, Children's Mercy Hospital had no information on her condition.

"A lot of people are praying for her," said Pat Cook.

Meanwhile, Leavenworth County Sheriff's officers continue to investigate.

"I'm not going to tell you there are leads or not leads, but we're continuing with the investigation," Sheriff Dave Zoellner said. "And with that, it takes a lot of interviewing. And it might be interviewing two or three times."

In addition, Zoellner's officers are trying to figure out where the bullet came from.

Zoellner, who called the shooting a tragedy, said Tuesday he didn't believe the girl was the victim of a drive-by shooting or was targeted by whoever shot her.

At 4:40 p.m. Saturday, Katherine was sitting on the back porch of her home while her 6- and 7-year-old brothers played nearby, Cook said. They heard a shot, or something that sounded like a firecracker. Katherine screamed and then fell, her grandmother said.

The girl was flown by helicopter to a Kansas City-area hospital. The bullet struck her just above one eye but didn't pass through her head, Pat Cook said. Doctors do not plan to remove the bullet, she said. It was not known how much damage the bullet may have caused, but on Monday the girl did raise one leg, Cook said.

"She's heavily sedated," she said Monday. "She was doing a wee bit better. It's a miracle that she's doing as well as she is."

Doctors planned to slowly begin removing life-support devices from the girl to see how Katherine reacts, Cook said. On Tuesday afternoon, Cook reported that doctors were going to attempt to feed Katherine through a tube.

The girl's house at 12480 170th St., is about four miles east of Linwood. Officers set up a checkpoint Monday, in hopes of finding someone who could provide information. Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to call the Leavenworth County sheriff's office, (913) 758-4082.

According to a Jefferson County hunting guide, if X-rays can tell officers what kind of bullet is lodged in the girl's head, that should help in reconstructing the shooting.

"Once you are able to figure out what it is, where she was and what she was doing, they ought to be able to figure out which direction (the bullet) came from," Mike Nickels said.

Without more information about the bullet, there are too many possibilities to speculate much on the incident, Nickels said. For rifle bullets to travel long distances, they would have to be shot at an elevated angle, he said.

"Normally what happens is your trajectory fails so quickly," Nickels said. "If you are going to shoot straight across a field, the bullet would hit the ground after 500 yards. It is going to drop several feet."

Moreover, any deflection - even from striking brush - would throw the bullet off even more. Zoellner said it's not unusual for people to hunt in the home's area.

Zoellner said Tuesday he was working with the Cook family to have X-rays taken of Katherine's head to determine what type of bullet it is. There also have been reports from neighbors that their animals have been killed. Zoellner didn't have any specific information on those reports.

- 6News intern Cory Smith and Tonganoxie Mirror news editor Shawn Linenberger contributed to this story.

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