Taking a post-workout nap turned out to be the best decision Chris Lemos ever made.
The University of Virginia fourth-year was asleep on his living room sofa Tuesday evening when a .45-caliber bullet broke his bedroom window, flew across his desk chair and went through his bedroom wall, before bouncing off a bed in an unoccupied room and landing on the floor of his apartment.
Lemos, who lives in Dove Cote at 1204 Wertland St., said he was minutes from getting up to study when he heard and ignored a shattering sound. Minutes later, Lemos’ roommate, Jake Amonette, noticed the hole in the window.
“I was asleep on the couch and my friend was playing video games and we heard a loud shatter, but we just thought it was a plate or something,” Lemos said Wednesday. “Then 20 minutes later my roommate said I had a hole in my window, then I saw the hole in the wall and an exit hole and I knew I was about to find a bullet.”
An officer who responded to the apartment approximately an hour after the round hit told Lemos he was lucky to be alive.
“The craziest thing about it was that honest to God I was planning to do my homework at my desk,” Lemos said.
Charlottesville police Lt. Ronnie Roberts said the bullet was a stray from an incident in the 700 block of Prospect Avenue, seven-tenths of a mile away.
“Just before 7 p.m. officers responded to the 700 block of Prospect Avenue for a shots fired call,” Roberts said. Nobody was hurt in the first incident, he added.
Despite there being houses, two busy streets and several large buildings between the site of the shooting and Dove Cote, a .45-caliber bullet fired at a steep angle could easily fly more than half a mile. Ballistics experts at the Virginia Department of Forensic Science could not be reached to comment for this story.
According to exterior ballistics, a .45 bullet can travel as many as 2,400 yards under the right circumstances.
Amonette said he doesn’t doubt that the bullet came from a long way off.
“It was going down at steeper than a 45-degree angle,” he said. “It hit at the top window and then hit the wall just above the baseboard.”
The bullet appeared to have lost much of its velocity by the time it landed, because it bounced off the bed without penetrating and, Amonette said, was not deformed by any of the impacts. The only deformation to the round was some drywall dust.
Lemos said he won’t be changing his habits because of the incident, but received some sage advice from a parent.
“My mom told me to crawl around my room from now on,” he said.
Charlottesville police said they are still looking for suspects in connection with the incident.
The nap that saved his life -- UVa student dodges bullet in his sleep | Daily Progress