When an 11-year-old sitting on bleachers with his Little League team grabbed his head and started crying, his family thought he had been whacked by a ball. Hours later they learned he had been struck by a stray bullet.
The boy, Devante Kelly, was in stable condition Monday at Brookdale University Hospital. Doctors removed the bullet, which lodged between the boy's skin and skull, and he was expected to recover, his family said.
"Thank God he's fine. He has an angel," his mother, Angela Walters, told reporters.
Kelly was on bleachers crowded with players in a field near Starrett City, a 140-acre apartment complex on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn. Kelly and other members of his Spring Creek Little League team, the Mets, were waiting for their team photo when he cried out in pain.
"All the while he's in the emergency room for two, three hours and we're thinking it's just a baseball that hit him," Walters said. "When the doctor went to put (in) staples, she saw something. ... And we took a CAT scan, and there was a bullet in his head."
There were no reports of shots fired, and investigators had no motive or suspects. Police were looking into whether the bullet was fired from afar and possibly ricocheted off the bleachers.
"I'm nervous because kids are playing there all the time," a relative told The Daily News. "He or someone else could have easily been killed."