Boy hit by celebratory gunfire speaks

8-year-old hit in foot by stray bullet on New Year's Eve

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The father of an 8-year-old boy who was hit by a stray bullet on New Year's Eve on the Southbank says his son's injury is not serious.

The boy was about to watch the fireworks downtown when he felt something hit his foot, and he told his dad. Police believe the bullet was from celebratory gunfire and do not know who fired the shot.

"We were getting ready to watch fireworks, then something came down and hit my foot real hard, and it went numb," the boy said. "It still hurts when I put pressure on it."

The boy's foot is bandaged up. He has another appointment with the doctor Thursday.

"I'm just kind of getting better every day," he said.

His father, who doesn't want to be identified, is relieved the injury is not serious.

The boy has been hopping around on one foot in since getting out of the hospital. His dad says he had no idea what had happened until he took his son's shoe off along the Southbank Riverwalk.

"He's held up pretty good. It's hard for him to understand how come a bullet come out of the sky and whacked him in the foot," the boy's dad said.

While police suspect the bullet came from a gun shot off to celebrate the new year, the boy said he doesn't think much of a person who would celebrate that way.

"Whoever did it is probably immature," he said.

The boy's dad is a gun owner and says he's been teaching his son how to shoot a gun. And this experience just reinforced a lesson of how dangerous firearms can be if they're used without care.

"He's handling it fine. He actually uses a firearm, knows what it does, understands it," the boy's father said. "Just someone irresponsibly shooting up in the air hit his foot. They're not toys, not something to play with."

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