Edgewater boy is shot in the head with BB gun

June 20, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

An 12-year-old Edgewater boy is lucky to be alive after being shot point-blank in the head with a BB gun by a teen-age housemate this weekend, Anne Arundel County police reported yesterday.

The BB entered Brian Bergendahl's forehead, pierced his skull and traveled through his brain, finally lodging in the back of his head, police and the boy's father said.

Almost as remarkable, Brian didn't even tell his parents he had been shot.

His mother found him bleeding from the head Friday morning. But not until doctors performed a CT scan did they discover the small, copper projectile.

"He is very fortunate," said Brian's father, Trent Bergendahl. "The doctors told me a couple of times that he could have died. You just don't think that a BB can do this kind of damage. It's just like a real gun."

Mr. Bergendahl said doctors do not think his son will suffer permanent damage, though they plan to leave the BB lodged in the back of the boy's brain, police said, because it would be "too traumatic" to remove it now. Brian's doctor at Anne Arundel Medical Center, where the youth was listed in good condition yesterday, would not comment on the case.

A 13-year-old boy, who lived with Brian and his family in the 3500 block of Second Ave. in the Selby-on-the-Bay section of Edgewater, was arrested Friday and charged as a juvenile with assault with intent to murder.

Mr. Bergendahl, his wife, Cheryl, Brian and two other sons, ages 8 and 10, moved into the Edgewater home in April to stay with an old family friend who was going through a divorce. The friend is the legal guardian of the 13-year-old suspect, with whom Brian shared a room.

Officer Terry Crowe, a police spokesman, said the shooting occurred in the bedroom sometime between midnight and 3 a.m. on Friday. Authorities said it is unclear if the shooting was intentional or accidental. They said the boys were not arguing.

After Brian was shot, he either got scared or chose to protect his roommate, his father said. He got a cold towel, put it over the wound and went to sleep.

About 8 a.m., Brian mother's heard him vomit, and went in to check. She saw blood on the pillow and a wound on her son's forehead. She drove him to a doctor, who sent the youth to the hospital.

Mr. Bergendahl said he was shocked to learn his son had been shot. It wasn't until then that his son told them what happened.

Police were finally called about 3:30 p.m., and a short time later they arrested the 13-year-old. He was still being held by juvenile authorities yesterday.

Mr. Bergendahl said the suspect's guardian had taken the sawed-off Daisy pump-action BB gun away from the youth just before the shooting because the boy had shot at and hit several car windows. But the youth apparently retrieved the weapon, Mr. Bergendahl said, from the trunk of his guardian's car.

Brian, a seventh-grader at Central Middle School, could spend the next several days under observation at the hospital. His father said he is alert, but has severe headaches.

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