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Police think woman was struck by target shooter after finding beer cans on top of hay bales

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Shot seemingly out of nowhere, a metro woman ended up in the hospital. Police say target shooters simply missed their mark.

It happened as that woman stood outside the Hawthorn Place Apartments near the intersection of 291 and 24-Highways in Independence.

Police said the person or people who are responsible for this shooting were taking target practice — shooting at beer cans placed on top of hay bales in a field. At least one missed and that bullet hit a woman at the apartment complex nearby.

The woman's son said she had just gotten out of her car and was standing in the parking lot outside of her home when she heard a gunshot coming from the direction of the field.

The next thing she knew, she had a pain in her arm and realized she had been shot. The bullet went through her arm and into her side where it remains.

It is illegal to shoot a weapon in the city limits of Independence like that, because of situations just like this one.

"This is an extremely dangerous situation; we have people up here shooting beer cans. These bullets have to go somewhere and in this case, they hit someone -- totally innocent victim, totally uninvolved," Independence police officer John Syme said.

Once a bullet leaves a gun, it can travel well over a mile and will not stop until it hits something or someone.

Investigators figured out what happened after they found a beer can on top of one of the hay bales and others in the field. They believe alcohol had something to do with the reckless decision to take target practice so close to where people live.

Whoever did this will most likely be facing unlawful use of a weapon charges, just for starters. Police believe the suspect or suspects live in this area.

If you have any information about who was involved, please call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.