An NGO has recorded everyone hit by “stray bullets” in Medellin, Colombia in 2012.
A total of 39 people were shot unintentionally, with 20 people killed outright by bullets not fired at them and 19 further people injured, according to the report.
“Injury or death caused by stray bullets can occur at any place, public or private, when resting, sleeping, […] inside homes or when engaged in work, working or passing through roads and public places,” said Corporacion Tutelar after listing every known incident in the city.
The first death of the year came on January 1, when Henao Daniela Roldan, 13 years of age, was killed by a gunman aiming at her father.
But the most common cause of “accidental” death was getting caught in the crossfire in shoot-outs between rival gangs. On April 9 a mother had just picked up her 4-year-old son from nursery in the district of Aranjuez when they encountered a confrontation between gangs. The mother was killed outright and the child was seriously injured.
Other deaths arose from shoot-outs involving the police. On May 28 a woman entering her home after attending mass was caught in a clash between police and an armed man. She died after being hit in the chest by a bullet.
The NGO decided to record the figures in the absence of government figures for accidental shootings. The report claimed that due to “high levels of conflict that exist in poor neighborhoods there are days when events of this nature occur frequently.”
In total city authorities recorded 1,026 homicides in Medellin in 2012, the majority of them in the poorer parts of the city.