A MOTHER has spoken of her shock after her eight-year-old daughter was shot with an air rifle as she played in the street.
Demi Solan was with a friend outside her house in Ullswater Close, Spennymoor, County Durham, when she was hit with a pellet from the weapon.
A second man living in the same street was also struck as he carried out minor repairs to his car. Both Demi and the 52-year-old unnamed man suffered minor bruising to the stomach and elbow respectively.
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Police have launched an investigation and are hunting the mystery gunman who struck twice within a few minutes shortly after 5.20pm on Thursday, March 20.
Demi's mother Leanne said she could not believe it had happened in what she described as a quiet cul-de-sac.
"She was just playing in the street when something shot her in the stomach," she said. "She didn't realise what had happened at first as it didn't really hurt her.
"When her dad had a look he found the pellet was still caught in her coat so he phoned the police.
"We've handed it to the police so hopefully they will find out who did this."
Mrs Solan said her daughter had not really played outside since the incident, although she said she believed this was more down to the recent bad weather.
"It was so unusual," said Mrs Solan. "Nothing whatsoever like this has ever happened around here before.
"We saw the direction the shot came from. No-one saw anything and there were no other kids in the street at the time.
"We were shocked when it happened but thankfully Demi is fine."
She added: "Hopefully the police will be able to sort this out."
Police have sent three weapons away for forensic examination after seizing them from a property in Spennymoor earlier this week.
However, investigating officers are keen to stress there is nothing linking them with these incidents and enquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Detective Sergeant Paul Ryans at the serious crime team in Newton Aycliffe on 101, ext 6732678 or via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.