Diego Duran, 13, has a message for gun owners this holiday season: don't celebrate by shooting bullets into the sky.
TAMPA - Diego Duran has a message for gun owners this holiday season: don't celebrate by shooting bullets into the sky.
The teenager was stuck in the head by a stray bullet on New Year's Eve, and spent seven months in the hospital fighting for his life.
Though his health is basically completely normal again, the 13-year-old Diego no longer looks forward to the holiday he once loved.
"I was waiting for midnight so we could light our fireworks and enjoy it," he said. "But now I look at it as dangerous because people are shooting their guns."
Thursday morning, Diego and his mom, Sandy, stood beside Richard Smeraldo for a press conference on the topic.
Celebratory gun fire also hit Smeraldo while watching fireworks in Safety Harbor on July 4. The bullet blazed through his baseball cap and went through his nose.
He has joined the Diego's "Bullet Free Sky Campaign" to sound the alarm about celebratory gunfire, in hopes of turning their scary experiences into positive change for the Tampa Bay community.
"From the moment I saw him collapse to the ground gushing blood, I was determined in my whole being that he was going to be OK," Sandy said.
Sandy believes her son survived so he could stand as a powerful motivator for change.
"This happens all over the country, almost in every state," Smeraldo said. "It made three new holes in my face. I was extremely lucky."
For more information, visit
Bullet Free Sky at http://bulletfreesky.com/photos.html