Teen shot in face in racist pellet gun attack - girl behind attack may be 10
The mother of a teenage girl shot in the face with a pellet gun at a Ballymena playground has said her daughter is lucky not to lose an eye.
The 15-year-old was wearing her traditional Pakistani clothing when she was hit.
The suspect is believed to be a girl, possibly aged as young as 10.
Police are treating the incident on Wednesday as a hate crime.
The girl, who was born in Northern Ireland and has lived all her life in Ballymena, was at a play park in the Ballykeel Two estate, where she had taken her three cousins, aged seven and under.
The family - who did not wish to be named - said they were shocked at what had happened.
An icepack had to be applied to a bleeding wound just above the teenager's eye but, fortunately, the family don't believe a scar will be left or that there will be any long-lasting physical damage.
The girl's mother (45), who was born in Birmingham but who has lived in Ballymena for decades, said her family originally came from Pakistan.
Speaking yesterday, she said the playground incident had been a frightening experience.
She said: "Fortunately the injury is not as bad as it could have been if the pellet had hit her eye. There is a bit of a mark. Originally, it had swelled up and we put ice on it and were watching it in case we had to take her to hospital.
"My daughter and young cousins were very shaken up by what happened and fortunately the younger children were not injured."
It is understood a girl, possibly as young as 10, was suspected of approaching the teenager and firing from close range.
A short time later, as the family were tending to the injured girl, a kitchen window was damaged with what is believed to have been another pellet.
The injured teenager's mother said although many young people in the area had been playing with water guns during the summer holidays, the use of the pellet gun was a shocking development.
She called on parents to make their children aware of the dangers of such "weapons".
Police in Ballymena confirmed they are investigating the incident and appealed for information. Constable Cinnamond said: "At approximately 3pm in the Orkney Drive area, a teenage girl was injured after being struck on the face with a pellet believed to have been fired from an airgun.
"A short time later the kitchen window of the victim's home was damaged after it was shot by a pellet gun.
"We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, which we are treating as a hate crime, or anyone with any information, to please call 101 quoting reference number 1414 31/08/19.
"Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime."
Meanwhile, the PSNI Ballymena Facebook page said: "Were you in the park at Orkney Drive in Ballymena around 3pm on Wednesday (31st)?
"A teenage girl was injured by a pellet fired from an airgun.
"Her home was also damaged."