Man hit in face, injured by falling bullet while watching Fourth of July fireworks show

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. - A falling bullet went through the nose and mouth of a Clearwater man as he watched a Fourth of July fireworks show in Safety Harbor Wednesday night.

Richard John Smeraldo, 74, was watching the fireworks display near the Safety Harbor Spa and Marina around 9:45 p.m. when he felt something strike his face.

He thought he had been hit by a rock.  But then a friend found a bullet on the blanket next to her and that's when Smeraldo realized he had been struck by the round.

He was taken to Mease Countryside Hospital.

"There deputies learned that the bullet evidently went through the bill of Smeraldo's cap, into the bridge of his nose - out his right nostril, through the upper portion of his bottom lip and exited though his lower chin," according to a sheriff's statement.  "The bullet then struck a metal medallion Smeraldo was wearing on a chain around his neck - then bounced off the back of his friend and onto the blanket."

Smeraldo required stitches and was released.

He had been sitting about 60 feet north of the restrooms at the Safety Harbor Marina and about 125 feet west of the shoreline when he was hit.

Deputies conducted a search of the area. No arrests have been made. The investigation is ongoing.

Last New Year's Eve, a Ruskin boy, Diego Duran, was hit in the head by a falling bullet.  He was in a coma for a month and continues to recover.

The source of the bullet was never found.

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