Gunshot survivors plea for bullet-free skies on New Year’s Eve - FOX 13 News

Gunshot survivors plea for bullet-free skies on New Year’s Eve

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RUSKIN (FOX 13) -

Sandy Duran's son Diego was hit by celebratory gunfire last New Year's Eve.

"When I went to turn him over, he was gushing blood out of his mouth and out of his nose," she explained, "All I knew is that he was bleeding to death, and if I didn't do something I would lose my kid."

It's been a long year for Diego. The 13-year-old finally recovered from the traumatizing injuries of that stray bullet.

He explained how the bullet hit his head.

"The bullet entered right here and then barely went by my eye, and then lodged into my cheek, it was like a coin in a can," Diego said.

Diego had three aneurisms and five surgeries.

"They opened up my head. They put a shunt, you can like feel it right here, it's a tube that goes down, all the way down, I actually have a scar," Diego explained.

His family wasn't sure if he would even walk or talk again.

"It's very traumatizing, for me, for daughters and for my son, so we try not to revisit that again," his mother said, emotionally.

Now the family is speaking out about what happened in a public service announcement they recorded for their non-profit "Bullet Free Sky."

"I want anybody out there that has this tradition of shooting up in the sky for whatever reason they do it, to know that out there, past two miles away, could be a loved one of theirs, a family member of theirs," Sandy said.

Diego's mission also brought him face-to-face with another victim, 74-year-old Richard Smeraldo, who was hit by celebratory gunfire on the 4th of July.

"The bullet goes through my cap, through my nose, out my nostril here, came out the bottom of my nose," he explained.

It then hit a metal charm his daughter had given him.

"It hit hard enough so that it made a dent to the other side."

Luckily, it was hard enough to save his life. He had the same silver tag made for Diego and gave it to him when the two met for the first time today.

"I guess we're comrades you know."

They're comrades who are 60 years apart, but closer than ever as they share a medal of honor that they hope no one else will ever have to bear.

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