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Stray Bullet Strikes, Seriously Wounds NJ Girl in Pennsylvania

New Jersey

By: Tracie Carter 

A Union County, NJ girl is in serious but stable condition after being shot in the clubhouse of a Berks County development in Exeter Township. 

According to Exeter Township Police, just before 7:30 p.m., Saturday officers responded to reports of an injured child in the Laurel Springs development off of East Neversink Road. 

Police said when they arrived, officers found an 11-year-old Scotch Plains girl bleeding in the bathroom of the developments 

A preliminary investigation indicated that someone in the men's bathroom shot a gun and the bullet traveled into the women's bathroom, striking the 11-year-old girl in her stomach, Exeter Township Police said. 

Police said no one really realized immediately that the child had been hit by gunfire; that was discovered while emergency responders conducted a preliminary investigation. 

A medevac helicopter airlifted the girl to  Children's Hospital of Philadelphia due to the severity of her injuries.

Berks District Attorney John Adams says the two men fled the scene. 

Authorities did confirm that there was a celebration happening at the development but would not say if the suspects attended the event or their relationship to the injured child, if any. 

“There's no thought process as to the consequences of their behavior."

Police have since identified a suspect and expect to issue an arrest warrant later Monday. County detectives are also involved in the investigation, police said.

Adams says the shooting was likely accidental, but the suspect, Mr. Charmose Smith, 22, is facing several charges, including recklessly endangering another person and aggravated assault.

He said Smith should not have had that weapon. 

“They don't understand that lives can change with the mere discharge of that weapon; his life, this child's life," says Adams.

According to District Attorney Adams, Smith is on probation and has a warrant out of Philadelphia for possession with intent to deliver drugs.

If you have any information that could help, contact either Exeter Township Police or the Berks County District Attorney's Office.

Authorities would not release the identity of the girl.