A stupid gun owner almost claimed the life of a Miami musician on New Year's Eve. The falling bullet narrowly missed Ted Zimmerman's head, but he won't be playing his trumpet any time soon. The bullet tore through his index finger and lodged into his middle one.
In an exclusive interview with Riptide, Zimmerman recounted how an unknown shooter ruined his night, as well as costing him his livelihood for at least a couple of months.
He is the second confirmed local hit by a stray bullet on New Year's Eve despite an intense public awareness campaign -- including ads by rapper Pitbull -- to prevent dumbass pistoleros from firing into the air.
The 31-year-old was just leaving his pad in Coconut Grove to celebrate 2013 when he was injured. Shortly after midnight, Zimmerman decided to go out and meet up with some friends.
"I had been hearing gunshots and fireworks all night," he says. "I took two steps out the front door when something whizzed past my head and hit my hand. It felt like a rock."
When he was about to send a text message, he saw his hand was gushing blood. He looked closer and realized he had a bullet lodged in his middle finger. "It just fell out of the sky," Zimmerman says. "I went straight to the emergency room at Mercy Hospital and spent my New Year's there."
A trumpeter who regularly plays with the Spam Allstars, Zimmerman spent seven hours in the hospital. Today he has an appointment with a plastic surgeon to examine his index finger, which suffered more damage than his middle one.
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Luckily, Zimmerman has health insurance.
After his trip to the ER, Zimmerman went home where he was met by a Miami police officer and crime scene technicians. He lives on Bird Road and McDonald Street, near the Home Depot in Coconut Grove.
Zimerman says the cop told him he was the fifth victim of a stray bullet in the vicinity of Coconut Grove. "He told me that the other calls involved people who got hit in the neck, in the hip and in the back," Zimmerman recalls.
Zimmerman is the second confirmed incident of a stray bullet hitting an innocent bystander on New Year's Eve. CBS Miami reported a victim was grazed in the shoulder by a falling bullet on Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest 32nd Street.