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Atwater teen lodges BB bullet in friend's brain

ATWATER -- Police are continuing to investigate what they say appears to be an accidental shooting where a teenage boy was shot in the head by a pellet rifle fired by a friend.

Detective Armando Echevarria, Atwater Police Department spokesman, said a pellet entered the boy's brain. He was initially treated at the Community Campus of Mercy Medical Center Merced and then airlifted to Children's Hospital Central California where he was listed in critical condition.

Echevarria said two boys, between 12 and 14 years of age, were goofing around and the shooter was unaware the rifle was loaded when it discharged about 3 p.m. Saturday.

"It was a total accident," Echevarria said, "not done intentionally."

The police department isn't contemplating any charges, he added, but the results of the investigation will be forwarded to the juvenile probation department for review.

Atwater Police Chief Richard Hawthorne said because both individuals were juveniles, police cannot release their names.

Several other incidents involving BB guns were reported in the last week but they are isolated, separate incidents.

Associate Editor Doane Yawger

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