NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx man who says his backpack saved his life talked on camera for the first time Monday about being struck in the head by a stray bullet.
CBS2’s Marc Liverman spoke exclusively with Fernelin Erncarnacion, 22.
This past summer, Erncarnacion found himself on the sidewalk near Davidson Avenue and East Fordham Road in the Kingsbridge Heights section of the Bronx, with a bullet partially lodged in his skull.
“Pop, pop, pop, pop, that’s what I heard,” he said. “I grabbed my phone really slow and I called 911. When I called 911, I told them I got shot.”
Erncarnacion was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where he spent nearly a month recovering. His mother, Paulina Meteviar, was more than 1,500 miles away in St. Maarten when she got the call.
She did not know if her son would live or die.
“I think, that’s going to be two funeral, not one if this happened. It’s too hard,” Meteviar said. “Every time I remember what happened, I need to cry. It’s the only way I can feel a little better.”
It was late August, and Erncarnacion was walking to his sister’s house from the subway when it started to drizzle. So he threw a leather Jordan backpack over his head to shield him from the rain.
But the backpack quickly became a shield for something else – a stray bullet. Erncarnacion said the material was thick enough to stop it from piercing his brain.
“That bag saved my life,” he said.
As of Monday, police had not made any arrests in the case. Erncarnacion said he never saw the shooter, and police told CBS2 he wasn’t the intended target.
But he still fears for his life.
“I’m going to be looking over my shoulder and I’m going to be praying every day,” Erncarnacion said.
Erncarnacion is praying and counting his blessings.
“Only God knows if you’re going to wake up tomorrow. You’ve got to enjoy the little things,” he said. “Call your mom and say hi.”
Erncarnacion said he knows what happened in August was nothing short of a miracle.
Police said they found four .38-caliber shell casings a block away from the shooting scene.