Last August, 76-year-old Peter Damone of Bridport, Vermont was standing on his back porch, grilling and talking on his cell phone when he suddenly felt a burning sensation, then a kick to his jaw that sent him sprawling. Peter had been hit by a round fired from a .45-caliber pistol. 36-year-old Tracy Stone was target practicing in his backyard and a bullet had traveled almost half a mile, striking Peter in the face.
Peter was lucky to have survived the incident. The bullet severed an artery leading to his tongue and lodged in his neck. He was in a coma for six days and has undergone numerous operations to piece his jaw back together. He has been fitted with a metal brace on his face to hold the bone fragments in place and is unable to chew solid food. His diet has consisted of soups and solids that have been minced or put through a blender.
The shooting has also taken a financial tool on Peter and his wife. The couple is retired, living on Social Security and a small annuity. Peter has been unable to continue with his occasional barn restoration projects. He has had extensive medical bills, including the cost of replacing his upper teeth. He has no dental coverage.
This week the Addison County state's attorney directed the state police to process Stone on charges of reckless endangerment and simple assault. Stone is scheduled to appear in court April 11.