Basalt man falls victim to drunken friendly fire
A man named Eric came to the Basalt police station Wednesday morning to report he had been shot in the front of his right shoulder with a BB gun the prior night. The BB penetrated his skin and was embedded in his flesh, according to officer Jeni Newcomb.Eric, whose full name the police did not release, was under the impression he had been shot while walking home about 12:30 a.m. along a bike path from an Elk Run Villas unit to a house in the same neighborhood. He told Newcomb he didn’t see who shot him. “He thought it was a bug bite at first,” Newcomb said.After consulting with Basalt paramedics, Newcomb took Eric to Aspen Valley Hospital while another Basalt officer canvassed the Elk Run neighborhood for information about hoodlums who were shooting people on the bike path late at night.Newcomb said she kept urging Eric to rack his brain for more details about the incident and asked him if he was sure the shooting occurred the way he thought it did. He acknowledged he had partied hard the night before at a local bar, then at a Villas unit, but was certain he had been shot while walking home. Eric told the officer that he and some friends were drinking “car bombs,” or shots of liquor sunk into a glass of beer. A doctor at AVH determined the BB couldn’t be removed from Eric’s shoulder easily and that it didn’t pose a threat of migrating into his bloodstream, so he advised him to leave it in, according to Newcomb. After the exam, the officer took Eric back to Basalt, and they drove around the neighborhood where he thought the shooting happened.While searching for clues they encountered a friend of Eric’s, another man in his mid-20s, who asked what they were doing. When they said Eric had been shot with a BB gun, the friend said he had been shot, as well, and he showed Newcomb a welt on his hip. When she asked if he knew who shot him, the friend replied that Eric did. When the officer asked who shot Eric, the friend confessed, then explained what happened.The story, which Newcomb recounted, went like this: After hitting a bar, Eric, the friend and a third guy continued drinking at the Villas. Eric and his friend had been roughhousing all night but in a playful way. At the house party, they got out a Daisy BB handgun, and Eric eventually shot his friend in the hip. The third party played referee and ruled that since Eric shot the friend, it was only fair for the friend to shoot Eric. The friend allegedly held the handgun at point-blank range and fired.Newcomb said Eric swore he remembered none of the events recounted by his friend. “He just kind of put his hand over his eyes and said ‘I am so embarrassed,'” the officer said.The police department decided not to press charges against Eric or his friend for either the incident or the inaccurate reporting, according to Newcomb. That’s why the men’s names weren’t released. Eric is already facing consequences.”The one will live with a BB in his arm,” Newcomb said.According to a resident of the condo where the incident occured, the BB gun was confiscated by the Basalt police after they made sure there were no more BBs on the premises. Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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