Three-year-old Aziyah was sleeping in her bed in Madison, Wis., late Sunday when a bullet ripped through her bedroom wall, only to be stopped by an unlikely protector: a Baby Shark toy.
Police say the stuffed shark caught a bullet for the toddler amid a major gun battle on the street outside her home.
“If the bullet would’ve come just a couple more inches, it could have hit her,” the child’s mother, Tanice, told NBC 15. She asked not to be identified by her last name out of fear for her family’s safety.
Tanice said she was confused and terrified when she heard the gunfire outside her home.
“I didn’t know where they were coming from and I didn’t know what to do,” she said. She ran into her daughter’s bedroom, grabbed her and “just covered her.”
“Then I crawled into the bathroom with her,” she said.
Police say two rival groups fired several shots into cars and houses throughout the neighbourhood Sunday night in a shootout that left behind at least 45 bullet casings.
“In our recent history as a police department, we don’t have anything close to this,” police spokesperson Joel DeSpain told NBC News. “We believe this may very well be a record number of shell casings found after one incident of gun violence.”
Police say the stray bullet appeared to have ricocheted up the gutter of the house before entering the child’s bedroom.
No injuries or arrests have been reported in the incident.
The Baby Shark toy is based on a viral song of the same name, which is one of the most-watched videos of all time on YouTube.
Tanice did not say what she plans to do with the damaged shark, which has a “big hole” in its chest.
However, people on social media were quick to applaud the doll for its role in saving the toddler.
“The hero none of us knew we needed: baby shark,” one user tweeted on Thursday.
Another user wrote: “Took one for the team, doo doo doo doo doo doo…”