Man shot by his neighbor, in pellet gun accident
For Islanders who were listening to radio traffic on a police scanner last week, a call late Wednesday carried more than the usual drama. A man had shot a neighbor in the neck and the victim was bleeding badly.
Although later police reports revealed that the owner of the gun was target practicing with a pellet gun, his actions had serious consequences. West Tisbury police Sergeant Dan Rossi emphasized this week that people must always exercise caution when using any type of firearm, including a pellet gun.
Sergeant Rossi said police received a call to respond to 35 West Farm Road at 6:29 pm, "for a person who was shot with a gun accidentally and was bleeding badly."
West Tisbury police responded. On the road to the house the driver of a black Jeep flagged the police down. The injured man, whom police did not identify, was inside the vehicle and was holding a paper towel to his neck.
Police directed him to wait for the ambulance. Once the ambulance arrived, the injured man was transported to the hospital.
According to the West Tisbury police report, Jason A. Blandini, 35, of 41 West Farm Road first told police that he was shooting at a bird from his upper deck in the direction of 35 West Farm Road. The distance to the other porch is approximately 125 feet said Sergeant Rossi.
Mr. Blandini said that as he was shooting at the bird his neighbor, a North Reading man, walked out on the deck of the nearby house, and he shot his neighbor accidentally.
Sergeant Rossi said that after examining the scene, including a pellet-marked house corner board and dented wind chime hanging on the neighbor's porch, police concluded that Mr. Blandini was shooting at his neighbor's wind chime. Police charged Mr. Blandini with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
Sergeant Rossi said that at last report, the neighbor, who asked that he not be identified, still had the pellet in his neck.
Sergeant Rossi said that when using any gun, it is important to follow all safety rules and not shoot in the direction of any house. "That's just common sense," he said.
Although pellet guns are often used to introduce youngsters to firearms and are popular for marksmanship training, they are not toys, gun safety experts say.
The guns are used for shooting small game and pests. Pellet guns are also used in competitive shooting competitions, including the Olympics.
Popular brands of pellet guns are capable of shooting a small .177 caliber pellet at a speed of between 900 and 1,200 feet per second. The pellet travels fast enough to kill a small animal, such as a rabbit or squirrel at a distance of approximately 45 yards.
According to the most recent information available on the Centers for Disease Control web site, children and young people are most likely to be injured by a pellet or BB gun.
Injuries to the eye, face, and head and neck account for 31 percent of all injuries. Approximately one third of the injuries are self-inflicted, and a third are caused by friends, acquaintances, or relatives.
Pellet gun manufactures and shooting organizations stress that the rules for safe gun handling also apply to BB and pellet guns. Those rules include: Always point the gun in a safe direction; Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; Be sure of your target and what is beyond.