Victim did not realize he had been shot

November 29, 1997

Victim did not realize he had been shot


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Brent Smoot just wanted to go Christmas shopping with his wife Friday morning when he was shot on Interstate 81 near Martinsburg, W.Va.

A deer hunter is suspected of firing the shot from a high-powered rifle, which went through the right rear panel of the car, over the back seat where minutes earlier Smoot's baby son had been in a child safety seat, through the driver's seat and into the back of Smoot's right shoulder.

The round exited out the front of his upper arm.

Police have questioned two hunters who were in a nearby field, but no one has been charged yet with firing the shot, said West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.A. Humphrey said Saturday.


Smoot, 20, of Ranson, W.Va., said in a telephone interview from City Hospital in Martinsburg that he hopes the police catch who shot him.

"I just want them to know they shot me, that it was negligence on their part," he said.

Smoot and his wife, Mary, 19, had dropped off their son, Ian, who turns 5 months old on Monday, at a grandmother's house on Friday morning.

They then got on I-81 to go to Frederick, Md., for Christmas shopping when he thought the back of the car had exploded.

"There was a flash behind us and a boom," Smoot said.

Smoot said he felt like he had been "pushed forward," but had not realized he had been shot.

Smoot said he pulled the car over to the shoulder of the highway without any problem.

After he stopped, he looked down and realized he had been shot.

"I saw blood pouring down my arm," Smoot said.

Smoot said he had not felt any pain until he saw the wound.

"It was excruciating pain," Smoot said.

The shot's impact sent metal shrapnel flying through the car hitting him in the neck and back of the head and grazing his wife's back, he said.

Smoot got out of the car and waved over a West Virginia State Police trooper who was on patrol on the interstate.

Smoot said he thinks he is lucky because his son was not in the car and that the injury to himself was not more serious.

Smoot said his son would have been in the back seat in a child safety seat if they had not dropped him off.

"You've got to look on the bright side," Smoot said.

Smoot said he is not a hunter because he had worried about other hunters in the woods with rifles.

The shot hit a nerve in his shoulder and Smoot, who works at a local quarry as a laborer and truck driver, does not know if he will regain the full use of his right arm.

The bullet holes were not stitched up because that would have increased the risk of infection, Smoot said.

Smoot said he had hoped he would get out of City Hospital today, but he thinks he will be kept in longer because of the risk of infection.

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