Daniel Renteria was celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends in a Wimauma neighborhood when just after midnight he felt his arm go numb.
“I couldn’t move my arm, all the way up to my shoulder,” Renteria said.
At first he thought one of the bottle rockets burned his forearm just up from his left wrist. But, when he grabbed his arm to see why he was in so much pain he realized he’d been shot.
“I touched my arm to lift it and it felt wet, I thought it was blood so I turned on a light because it was dark and saw the blood,” Renteria said.
Renteria was shot just after midnight. A few hours earlier, Hillsborough County investigators said another man out riding his bike in Tampa was shot by a stray bullet in the leg. Both men were taken to Tampa General and treated and released for their injuries.
“It’s foolishness,” Renteria said. “I feel lucky and grateful I didn’t get shot in the head.”
Unfortunately, New Year’s Eve and stray bullets go hand in hand. In St. Petersburg last year a teenager was shot in the leg by celebratory gunfire. That same night a St. Pete police officer’s windshield was hit by a stray bullet falling from the sky.
In 2012 Diego Duran, who was 12 at the time, was shot in the head by a stray bullet. That bullet nearly killed him. He spent seven months in the hospital fighting for his life and has undergone months of rehab and physical therapy. Since Duran was shot he started a campaign called “Bullet Free Sky.” For more information click www.BulletFreeSky.com.
Investigators are asking anyone who knows of someone shooting bullets into the sky New Year’s Eve to give them a call. Duran’s shooting is still unsolved.