Valley View Avenue resident Tina Butts always felt safe about her kids playing in the alley behind her home. But that was before someone allegedly shot her 9-year-old son, Michael, in the chest with a pellet gun about 8 p.m. Thursday.
“What kind of a person would drive by and shoot a 9-year-old kid with a pellet gun?” she said Friday.
Butts said the shooter was traveling in a Jeep Wrangler. The pellet left a small welt on the boy’s chest.
‘‘The worst part about this whole thing is that my son was shot right before my eyes. If these people are willing to take shots at kids when their parents are right there watching, I don’t know what we are going to do about them,’’ she said.
Michael said he hopes the person who shot him is apprehended by the police.
‘‘People like that need to go to jail,’’ he said.
According to a Wheeling police report, officers went to the Butts residence about 8 p.m. Thursday to investigate the alleged shooting.
‘‘I hope the police are able to catch these people because this is just the worst thing to ever happen in this neighborhood,’’ Butts said.
She noted she will let her kids continue playing in the alley, but will keep a close eye out for the Jeep.
‘‘I hope anyone who knows these people will call the police,’’ she said.
Michael, along with his sister, Hannah, and brother Ronan have been playing in the alley and side streets with other kids in the neighborhood for a long time.
‘‘This is such a nice and peaceful neighborhood where everybody knows everybody. All these kids get along really well, and they’re all so innocent, and I just cannot believe someone would do something like this to my son,’’ Butts said.
Though understandably shaken by the shot, Michael is slowly recovering.
‘‘I think he will be all right physically, but right now he is a little scared to be outside. Last night (Thursday), he told me he never wanted to go outside again. But he is out here now,’’ she said.
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information, each year, about 30,000 people are treated in hospitals for BB and pellet gun injuries.