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Youth Hit by Stray Bullet Returns Home

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FAYETTEVILLE — Ronnie McTear was doing dishes in his Fayetteville home two weeks ago when a bullet tore through the kitchen window and hit him in the face. Now for the first time since the drive-by shooting, Ronnie has worked up the courage to return home.

Ronnie is one of the bravest little kids you'll ever meet. He was rushed to the hospital after he was struck in the cheek with a .22-caliber bullet. But he's not dwelling on what happened; rather, he's looking forward to getting his life back to normal.

"He has a broken jaw, a left broken jaw," said his mother, Sandra Craig. "His mouth is wired shut for six weeks. He's probably going to need some facial surgery. He lost three teeth -- two permanent, one wisdom. He's going to lose at least three to four more."

Ronnie was struck by a stray bullet fired from a passing car. While it's hard to understand him because he can't open his mouth, Ronnie is still able to tell us about the night he was hit.

"I thought my cousin that hit me, hit me with a rock," Ronnie said. "But it wasn't a rock; it was a bullet. ... People were shooting at each other, and they didn't mean to shoot at me."

Ronnie couldn't stay at home until now because he was afraid to look at the bullet hole in the house. Both Ronnie and his mom have a unique perspective on people who recklessly play with guns.

"Stupid people do stupid things," his mother said, "and I guess that's a result of playing with guns."

"It's very dangerous," Ronie said, "and I hope the police find them, whoever shot me, ...and put them in jail for three months."

Because his jaw is wired shut, Ronnie can only eat mashed potatoes, grits and ice cream. But when the wires come off, he's already told his grandmother what he would like for dinner.

"Chitlins, fried chicken, collard greens, mash potatoes," Ronnie says.

Ronnie very easily could have died. Doctors say that, had the bullet traveled up instead of down, it probably would have gone through his skull and into his brain.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
John Conway, Web Editor

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