Fatal Christmas shooting appears accidental

Published: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.

DELTONA — A man who was shot in the chest while working in his yard on Christmas morning initially tried to walk when his son helped him up.

But Bruce Fleming, 69, died a short time later at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in nearby Orange City.

"I can't put into words," son Joshua Fleming told the Daytona Beach News-Journal (http://bit.ly/1acnkwX ). "He was trying to walk and I was carrying him to the house. He just kept saying that he had been shot."

The shooting happened just after 10 a.m. on Wednesday. While Christmas dinner was being prepared, Bruce Fleming went outside to do some yard work.

Volusia County Sheriff's investigators say the shooting appears accidental. A bullet from a gun that was fired from a nearby property struck Fleming.

Officials say a man admitted to firing the shotgun but said he didn't know he hit anyone. His name has not been released.

Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson said Thursday that a charging decision hasn't been made and the investigation continues.

An incident reports states that neighbor Jeffrey Stuck heard two to four gun shots and then heard yelling from the Fleming house. He said he ran across the street and saw Fleming in the driveway. Stuck helped control the bleeding until paramedics arrived.

Daughter Jessica Blackwell told the newspaper she ran to her father and "held his hand." Then he started losing consciousness.

She said the family is in shock.

"We have not had our Christmas dinner yet," said Bruce Fleming's daughter Jessica Blackwell. "It has been a nightmare since my father was shot."

Bruce Fleming and his wife moved to central Florida from Indiana 31 years ago. He was a soybean farmer and they moved when grain prices fell. Fleming and his wife, Doreen, were high school sweethearts from Hagerstown, Ind.

"He was a serious man, but he was always kind to everyone," Blackwell said of her father. "I don't know what we are going to do without him. My mother's world revolved around him.

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