Grandfather hit by stray bullet while driving on SR 54 in Wesley Chapel

6:41 AM, Dec 13, 2013   |    comments
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  • Map shows the location where a stray bullet grazed 62-year-old Walter Santiago's forehead while he was driving.



Wesley Chapel, Florida -- Deputies are trying to figure out who fired a bullet that hit a grandfather and almost hit his granddaughter while they were driving down the road.

It happened while Walter Santiago, 62, was driving on State Road 54 near Bruce Lane in Wesley Chapel on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTOS: Damage from stray bullet

Santiago said, "The Lord wasn't ready to take me yet."

He told 10 News the stray bullet came in through his open driver's side window, grazed his forehead above his left eye, and then hit and cracked the windshield.

The windshield crack is right in front of the passenger's seat, where his 13-year-old granddaughter was sitting.

Santiago says he knows just how lucky he is to only have six stitches in his forehead.

The bullet that came in through the window was shot from a .40 caliber rifle, Pasco County Sheriff's Office detectives said.

That's a weapon so powerful, it's what the Coast Guard uses to shoot out the engines of drug runners' speedboats.

The scare of his life happened after he picked up his 13-year-old granddaughter from school and headed east on State Road 54.

He was about two miles east of Interstate 75 when "all of the sudden, I heard something hit. And I felt like something hit me," Santiago said.

"And when I looked toward my granddaughter, she says, 'Grandpa, I think you've been shoot -- you're bleeding.'

"I've never been shot before, so I didn't know what to think. It felt more like I was hit with a hammer in the head."

Santiago will be fine, and his granddaughter was not hurt.

Investigators say it appears the shot came from quite a distance as the bullet just cracked the windshield.

Deputies have searched the area but have not found the person responsible. They say it also doesn't appear anyone is targeting drivers. 

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