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Seat belt a lifesaver in shooting

TAMPA - Here's another reason to wear a seat belt.

Sheriff's deputies say Robin Key's seat belt helped save her from serious injury by deflecting a bullet when two men shot into her family's van Sunday evening.

"It's kind of surreal," she said. "Like you're in a dream, but you can't quite figure out what you've gone through."

Key, 44, and her husband, Donald, 44, of Riverview, were headed home after his band's gig at Jimmy B's Beach Bar on St. Pete Beach.

They were stopped at a red light at Boyette Road and U.S. 301 in Riverview. Mrs. Key was sitting in the front passenger seat. She asked her husband about a lyric book she was putting together.

Suddenly, they heard what sounded like an explosion. Mrs. Key figured something had happened to the van's engine. Then she saw a bullet hole in the windshield. She started to speak, but there were shards of glass on her lips.

She felt a searing pain in her shoulder.

She turned to her husband.

"I think I've been shot," she said.

"He said, 'Who would have shot you?' " she remembers.

"I have no idea," she told him. "I was just sitting here with you, honey."

She touched her shoulder and figured out she wasn't badly hurt. It seemed her seat belt and the thick straps on her bra deflected the bullet, deputies say. She found the .38-caliber bullet's copper jacket on her leg.

How could a bullet bounce off a bra strap?

It was a perfect storm of sorts, said sheriff's spokesman J.D. Callaway.

"It's a big bullet, but you had all those forces acting against it," he said.

First, the thick glass of the windshield slowed the bullet. Then, the seat belt's tough material and the thick bra strap slowed it further, he said.

"It's very rare that something like that occurs," he said. "She's very lucky. You know, we're just glad that she came out okay."

Mrs. Key and her husband frantically dialed 911 right after the shooting. They met deputies near a bank, where the couple described the incident. They didn't see the shooter, but other drivers noticed what happened, the couple told deputies.

Deputies received another call about shots fired in the area. The caller reported men shooting from a pickup truck.

Deputies went to the location and found Anthony Batchelor, 22, and Christopher Lynn Walker, 19, Callaway said.

The two were arrested. Callaway declined to describe any statements the men gave to deputies. He said one of the men gave deputies "information."

Walker and Batchelor were arrested just before midnight Sunday and taken to the Hillsborough County jail. Deputies say Walker fired the shot.

Neither man knew the Keyses, deputies said. The men gave no reason for the shooting, deputies said.

"I just can't imagine why they would do that," Mrs. Key said.

The two men face charges of aggravated battery and shooting into an occupied vehicle.

Batchelor faces a charge of wearing a bulletproof vest during an aggravated battery, according to an arrest report. He told deputies he needed the vest for protection against drug dealers, Callaway said.

Batchelor's bail was set at $32,000, Walker's at $30,500.

Anyone with any information about the shooting can call the Sheriff's Office at 813 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 873-8477.

· Registered
203 Posts
Thankfully she is alright and safe. It's amazing how some things can play out for either the good or the bad. In her case, it worked out good for her. Those 2 younger kids that were arrested deserve to be put away for a long time. They give guys like me(22) a bad name.

BTW - I just got my USP-C 9mm Stainless yesterday in the mail! I'll post pic's as soon as I get the chance. 8)

· Registered
60 Posts
The two men face charges of aggravated battery and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
I hate bullshit like this. If he killed her, he would (maybe I should say "should" cause who the hell knows nowadays) be charged with murder. But because of some unbelievable luck she's still alive. So it couldn't have been attempted murder. This kinda shit drives me insane.

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