An 11-year-old girl was shot in the head as she sat in a car after an argument between her mother and another woman turned violent.
Phoenix Newitt was rushed to a local hospital in Deloraine in northern Tasmania by a family member about 9pm on Tuesday after the shooting in Stagg Court.
She was then taken to Launceston General Hospital before being flown to Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne where she is in a stable condition.
The bullet rebounded off the car’s passenger door, lodging fragments in Phoenix’s neck and head which travelled to her heart.
A 25-year-old man was arrested and later charged with grievous bodily harm and recklessly discharging a firearm.
Her uncle Zach Newitt said the family was shaken up by the violent shooting in front of him, her mother Sarah Newitt, and her four-year-old cousin.
‘She is just one of those kids that everyone loves. She’s just one of the most caring people… always smiling… always helping,’ he told the ABC.
The shooting stemmed from a fight between Ms Newitt and another woman about an hour before the shooting, Inspector John King said.
An argument between the pair at the Deloraine Woolworths turned into a fight that left Ms Newitt with a cut to her face and the other woman with a bite mark.
Ms Newitt then called Zach and they drove to the woman’s house on Stagg Court, with Phoenix and Mr Newitt’s four-year-old boy in the back seats.
They had a loud argument with the woman and her partner outside the house and a neighbour said they heard a heated argument followed by ‘what sounded like a firecracker’.
A woman claiming to be a distantly related to the girl’s family called a local radio station saying the man approached carrying what they though was a baseball bat.
Inspector King alleged the man was actually carrying a small-calibre rifle which he then fired at the car from about 50 metres away, hitting the girl.
The 25-year-old alleged shooter was arrested at his house on Stagg Court later that night.
‘Head wounds can be catastrophic and it certainly didn’t look good to start with but it’s very, very pleasing to hear that her condition is improving,’ Inspector King said.