When you think of children playing in their yards, you likely imagine laughter, fun games and perhaps the occasional scraped knee. Yet, for one family in Ohio, an innocent game of Nerf Wars turned into a harrowing real-life nightmare.
A teenager, in the midst of playful excitement with friends, suddenly found himself under gunfire, changing his life and his family’s life in an instant.
April Bell recalls the traumatic moments of March 6, 2023, thinking the sounds were mere fireworks. Yet, her eldest son quickly corrected her, recognizing the noises as gunshots. Panic took hold as April and her husband struggled to locate their 16-year-old son, fearing the worst.
Outside, the teenager realized the grave danger he was in. Unable to reach the safety of his back porch, he took refuge behind a pine tree in his yard. As he hid, he dug a hole, hiding behind some shrubbery, not knowing when the onslaught of bullets would resume. He later called his mother to open the front door, rushing in seconds later, injured but alive.
Tragically, eleven shots targeted this young boy. One of the bullets struck him in the foot, leading to profuse bleeding. Click here to see the WLWT Channel 5 news interview with April Bell regarding the incident.
The Bell family believes that the gun and ammunition belonged to Bengals running back Joe Mixon, but the alleged shooter was Lamonte Brewer, the boyfriend of Mixon’s sister.
The charges brought against Brewer include one count of felonious assault, one count of tampering with evidence and two counts of possessing weapons while having a disability. While the local prosecutors clarified that Mixon did not commit any crime and would not face criminal charges, the Bell family feels that he still holds responsibility for allowing the weapon to be in Brewer’s hands.
The incident deeply traumatized the Bell family. Feeling unsafe, they sold their home and relocated, attempting to leave behind the nightmare of that night. However, the emotional scars remain. April Bell expresses their collective feeling of betrayal and hurt, given the absence of any apology or discussion about the incident.
In pursuit of justice and closure, the Bell family has initiated a civil lawsuit against both Joe Mixon and Lamonte Brewer. They hope that through this legal action, they can receive the acknowledgment and redress they believe they deserve.
For many, this tragic event serves as a somber reminder of the unpredictability of life and the importance of ensuring safety in their communities. Always be vigilant and prioritize the well-being of your loved ones.