Authorities say a lot of luck and just an inch or two stopped a Michigan teen from killing or seriously hurting his own brother after he shot him with a bulletproof vest on.
“A couple more inches and they probably would have missed the vest,” said Lt. Jim Charon with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.
Charon said a friend bought the old body armor from a military surplus store in Kalamazoo. The layers of protection were worn down inside the expired vest, which was used for paintballing.
When the teenagers got ahold of it, police said they decided to test it out with real guns.
“You miss the vest, hit your liver, you're going to bleed out,” Charon said.
The bottom corner of the expired body armor caught one of the .22 caliber bullets.
“The vest that they have probably doesn't have the trauma plate it in,” Charon said.
Police have not yet found the old, worn out bulletproof vest the teens wore. Police said the teens turned themselves into targets and took video of the shooting at a gun range behind their Lawton home.
“Just shooting a gun is not harmful. Shooting it at somebody, there's a million different things that could go wrong and you could kill somebody,” Charon said.
Authorities have charged 17-year-old Michael Docekal with intentionally shooting at another person, without malice or injury. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year behind bars.
The case against Docekal's younger brother, who is 16, is still under review by the prosecutor in juvenile court.
“His friend wasn't confident to shoot my son after my son put the vest on so my oldest son said, ‘I'll shoot you,’” said Todd Docekal, the teen’s father.
The friend who didn't shoot at anyone does not face any criminal charges.
Docekal pleaded not guilty and was released on a promise he won't miss any future court dates.
His father said his son made a mistake, but he doesn't want that one very dumb decision to destroy the teenager's future.
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