Police seek BB gun shooter

A Mountain View middle school student escaped serious injury after being shot with a BB gun while walking down Mountain View Drive Monday afternoon.

Patrick Frerich was walking his family’s dog, Bella, near the intersection of North Park Street and Mountain View Drive around 3:15 p.m. March 26 when a BB struck him in the chest, embedding itself in his skin and leaving a spreading, dark bruise, according to his mother, Tasha Hotch.

At first, she said, her son thought he might have been struck by a pebble flung from a passing car. When he arrived at his destination — an aunt’s house in Russian Jack — he noticed the hole in his jacket and shirt, and the metal pellet lodged in his skin. Hotch reported the incident to both Clark Middle School administrators and the Anchorage Police Department Tuesday morning, and delivered the salvaged BB to an officer who responded to take a report, she said.

The pellet gun shooting was one of several in the area that day, according to police: Two adult men were treated for similar minor injuries after being shot with a BB gun at the same intersection around 6 p.m. Monday, according to APD spokesman MJ Thim.

Police have not identified any suspects, Thim said, and anyone with information is asked to call police dispatch at 311, or make an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post shared thousands of times, Patrick’s grandmother offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who pulled the trigger Monday. Hotch, a school board candidate and vice president of the Mountain View Community Council, said she was outraged by the incident.

“A BB that breaks the skin could seriously hurt someone, and we are fortunate that this wasn’t worse,” Hotch wrote.

After sharing an update about the Monday shooting on social media, Hotch said she received dozens of messages from concerned community members. She heard stories about others struck by BBs on the same stretch of road. She received tips from neighbors about the possible identity of the BB gun shooter. She said she worried about how the situation might escalate.

“There’s obviously a pattern here,” she said. “As a parent, I’m a little concerned if it’s not resolved — there will be this huge outcry from the community.”

Patrick, meanwhile, is recovering from a “gnarly” bruise and focused on acing his spring PEAKS exams this week, Hotch said.

Categories: News

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