It's been one week since seven-year-old Brendon Mackey died after being struck by a falling bullet in Chesterfield, presumably fired in celebration of Independence Day.
It's been seven years since a similar incident changed a VCU student's life forever.
Jay Crandell was walking home on West Grace Street with a friend on July 4, 2006, when he suddenly fell. He had been struck in the back of the head by a bullet, fired from an unknown location.
Doctor's were able to remove a .40-caliber bullet from Crandell's head. That's the same caliber round which killed Mackey last week.
“I just feel lucky. Really, really lucky, to be where I am right now,” said Crandell during an exclusive interview with 8News reporter Amy Aubert.
Crandell survived, but with permanent memory damage and partial paralysis. He spent three months in the hospital, three years in intensive rehab, and now lives with his parents. He is able to walk, read and have a conversation, but that one moment changed his life forever.
“I'm quite shocked that I was able to get through everything I got through,” said Crandell. “And, I'm quite happy I survived.”
“It's defined the rest of his life… This stupid gunshot,” said Crandell's mother, Kim Lambelet.
Just like the Brendon Mackey family, Crandell and his parents are left wondering who fired the shot that changed everything.
“Early on, I had no interest, I wanted my son to live,” said Lambelet. “The police said the person likely didn't even know he or she did it.”
Crandell is counting his blessings, but has a message for anyone considering recklessly handling their firearm.
“Please, please… what goes up comes down, it's going to land somewhere, and it might even land on someone.”
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond