Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family of Ruskin boy wounded on New Year's wants end to celebratory gunfire

RUSKIN

On New Year's Eve, Diego Duran will be indoors.

The 13-year-old Ruskin boy doesn't want to take any chances. And his family doesn't want a repeat of last year.

On Jan. 1, as his family watched fireworks outside their Ruskin home, Diego was struck by a stray bullet.

"I used to enjoy the fireworks," Diego said at a news conference Thursday. "But you never know what's out there or what's going to come down and hit you."

To help raise awareness of the dangers of celebratory gunfire and urge gun owners to leave their firearms at home this New Year's, Diego's family formed the nonprofit group Bullet Free Sky, which organized Thursday's appearance at the Firehouse Cultural Center.

"We want to educate the community so that they know as they celebrate, they could kill anyone out there within a 2-mile radius," said Diego's mother, Sandy Duran. "Share this information, talk about it, print out a poster from our website."

Richard Smeraldo knows the dangers all too well.

Smeraldo was struck by a stray bullet during this year's Fourth of July fireworks display at Safety Harbor. The 9mm bullet came through his nose and out his chin before ricochetting off a metal dog tag around his neck.

"I was extremely lucky the bullet came down the way it did," the 74-year-old Clearwater resident said.

Smeraldo contacted the Durans through their organization a few months ago and met them for the first time Thursday morning.

"We're coming together to have a stronger voice," Sandy Duran said. But she wants to be clear that just because the organization opposes celebratory gunfire, it doesn't have an opinion on gun ownership itself.

"I'm not against guns. I'm against people shooting guns into the air," she said.

Her son is still recovering from his injuries. He spent five months in the hospital and now has a shunt to drain fluid from his brain, Sandy Duran said. But that hasn't seemed to slow him down.

"Ask him how he's doing, and he says fine," she said. "He forgets there's anything wrong."

Through it all, the eighth-grader at Beth Shields Middle School has stayed on track with his education. He even got the go-ahead from his doctor to begin skateboarding again. An Apollo Beach skate park just a few miles away was named in his honor this year.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2442.

Please, don't shoot guns in the air'

A public service announcement prepared by Bullet Free Sky:

Family of Ruskin boy wounded on New Year's wants end to celebratory gunfire 12/27/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 27, 2012 11:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida State out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011

    Blogs

    Florida State's first 0-2 start since 1989 has led to another low.

  2. From care center to purgatory to 'hellhole': How 11 frail elders died after Irma

    Hurricanes

    As she got ready to say goodbye to her mother at the Hollywood Hills nursing home, Rose Wyda's heart was sick. Hurricane Irma had been gone for nearly 48 hours, but the trail of shattered trees and broken, hissing power lines the storm left behind was still dangerously apparent. And the nursing home was part of the …

  3. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem

    Bucs

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Authorities ID man killed in Clearwater Beach boating crash; Girl, 4, still in critical condition

    Briefs

    An Altamonte Springs man died and a 4-year-old girl remains in critical condition Sunday morning after their personal watercraft collided with a boat in the Intracoastal Waterway near Clearwater Beach just before 5 p.m.

  5. 'If anyone can hear us … help.' Puerto Rico's mayors describe 'horror in the streets'

    World

    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - In the northern Puerto Rican town of Vega Baja, the floodwaters reached more than 10 feet. Stranded residents screamed "save me, save me," using the lights in their cellphones to help rescue teams find them in the darkness, the town's mayor said.