A 15-year-old girl was among three people shot with an air gun in the streets of Middlesbrough.
Police said the teen had to be rushed to hospital to have the pellet removed from her head.
Detectives released a picture of her injury showing the pellet clearly lodged into her skull through her hair.
Two more people were also hit by air gun pellets in three separate incidents on the evening of Tuesday, February 16.
A 56-year-old cyclist was hit on the shoulder around 8.45pm and a 28-year-old woman also reported she had been hit on her back around 9pm as she ran past the area.
Cleveland Police said a group of teenagers, aged around 15, are believed to have been gathered in the area at the time and officers have launched an appeal for more information.
Officers say they ‘will not tolerate’ behaviour like this which could easily have led to ‘catastrophic’ injuries. Patrols have been stepped up and a dispersal order slapped on the surrounding area which lasts until Friday.
The 15-year-old victim, who was shot at around 9.15pm, had to be taken to James Cook University Hospital to have the air pellet removed.
The male victim suffered a sore arm after he was hit, police said.
Detective Inspector Matt Hollingsworth said it was lucky their injuries weren’t more serious.
“We will not tolerate incidents like this, and have made steps this morning to try to identify those involved,” he said.
“It is very fortunate that someone was not more seriously injured. A 15-year-old girl was taken to hospital and had a pellet removed which was lodged in her head. She has been very lucky. If that pellet had hit her in the eye or soft tissue areas there could have been catastrophic injuries.
“I would urge members of the public who may have information about the person responsible to come forward and tell us who it is. You don’t need to give us your name, it can be anonymous.
“I would also appeal to parents whose children were out last night, please find out where they were and contact us if they have information. If your child was out and may have access to an air weapon, we would also urge you to get in touch.”
All three incidents happened near the Bluebell Medical Centre.
Officers are implementing a dispersal order in the surrounding area from Wednesday evening running until Friday night which can be extended if needed.
Anyone found to be gathering will be dispersed and anyone who breaches the order can be arrested, said police.