Stray bullet pulls plug on surprised man's television

James Milton On Omaha.com/crime, watch a video of Milton recalling the bullet that tore into his home.


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An Omaha man thought a picture tube in his old TV had blown Tuesday night when the screen went dark.

It turns out that a stray bullet had ended his channel surfing.

"I just heard my TV make a noise and saw the picture go out, so I thought the picture tube had blown again," James Milton said Wednesday. "I got to looking around, and I found a bullet behind the TV, laying on the stand."

Milton, 50, lives in a home near 37th and Fort Streets, where he cares for his wheelchair-bound mother. Milton's sister also was at home when the bullet came through the wall of Milton's bedroom around 10:30 p.m.

"I'm just glad my mom and sister were OK," he said. "Nobody was injured. Just the TV."

What he thought were five distant gunshots should have tipped off Milton that there was trouble somewhere nearby.

"I heard, like, 'pop, pop, pop, pop, pop' in rapid succession, but it didn't really register," he said. "We hear some stuff around here, but we don't live in a bad neighborhood."

Police arrived and took a report — and the bullet. Milton estimated the value of his TV at no more than $10, but he thinks the bullet hole in the wall could cost around $100 to patch.

Officers later determined that the shots had been fired a couple of blocks away.

A woman reported that she was driving east on Jaynes Street near 36th Street when someone shot out the back window of her car and damaged the windshield. The driver was not injured.

The TV was an older Sony model that Milton got about a month ago from the Timberlake Outreach Center, run by the Open Door Mission.

Money is tight, Milton said, so he expected to return to the center to see if he could find another one for a reasonable price.

"We were just there after the picture tube did go out on my other TV," he said.

Wednesday afternoon, after a version of this article was posted on Omaha.com, two readers contacted The World-Herald and said Milton could have their old TVs. "It's a blessing," he said.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1272, kevin.cole@owh.com

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