Man hit by BB pellet July 4 says he needs eye surgery

Man hit by BB pellet July 4 says he needs eye surgery
Brandon Downs

The 28-year-old man left partially blind after a BB pellet hit him in the eye while watching Whitewater’s July 4 fireworks celebration needs surgery.

“I have a hole directly where my main sight is on my retina,” Brandon Downs said. “The only way to fix it is to go in and repair the hole.”

Downs said his doctors will also have to put an air bubble in his eye to help with the healing.

“I have to spend a week looking straight down at the ground so the air bubble can help with the healing. I can’t do anything for a month after the surgery. No work. No driving” Downs said. “I will also have a much higher chance of cataracts and my vision will never be as clear as it was before, they just don’t know how bad it will be.”

Police have charged 21-year-old Marios Shahollori, and Paul Champlin, 25, of Chicago.

A criminal complaint said Shahollori and Champlin shot BBs using an airsoft BB gun at nearby cars and people. Police said hundreds of people were in the area to watch the city’s fireworks show, and that Shahollori and Champlin used the noise of the fireworks to conceal the sound of the airsoft gun going off.

Police told witnesses the men’s motive was to see peoples’ reactions.

Four other men, two women and a 3-year-old reported being struck by BBs, according to the complaint. Victims said they were struck in the head, chest, leg, calf, face, rib cage and back. In at least one instance, a BB broke a woman’s skin.

In the criminal complaint, police said officers found 52 metal BBs on the roof. A search of Shahollori’s home also found an XBG Umarex BB gun, two metal BB gun magazines loaded with BBs, a marijuana pipe, digital scale, 1.97 grams of pot and a Hi-Point black-and-silver .380-caliber gun. According to the complaint, Shahollori said he and Champlin also fired the .380 over the trees of Cravath Lake during the fireworks show, where there were hundreds of people watching the fireworks. The complaint did not indicate anyone was struck by the .380 rounds.

To help Downs with Medical expenses you can donate to his GoFundMe page.