Family remembers accidental shooting victim

Family remembers accidental shooting victim »Play Video
Gerald Perry

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A man was accidentally shot in the head while in the comfort of his family's home.

While the shooting happened in Fresno, his family is grieving in Bakersfield.

Gerald Perry, 65, was a Vietnam War veteran who survived two diabetic comas. His family is trying to cope with how a bizarre accident killed the man they described as a "fighter."

"There was just something inside telling me to keep hugging him. So I kept hugging him,” said Perry’s granddaughter Madison Watt.

Watt visited her grandfather just a day before a stray bullet fired from another apartment killed him.

"I think one of the last things I told him before he went to the store with my mom was that I loved him and to be safe, because anything could happen when you're not there," said Watt.

Police say 30-year-old Lemont Smith accidentally discharged a handgun Friday night from a nearby apartment. Smith is now in custody at the Fresno County Jail, being held without bail on a murder count.

Madison sees the shooting as a tragedy for both families.

“You understand our side of it, but when it comes to it all you have to think about his as well,” she said. “Because what are his parents thinking? If he has brothers and sisters, what are they feeling that he's in jail?"

The stray bullet went through a sliding glass door before hitting Perry in the head as he sat on the couch next to his granddaughter and wife.

Madison's father, Bob Watt, said the news has been a huge shock for the entire family.

“He had just laid his great granddaughter Riley down in bed and came back. Had he spent another second or two with Riley, we wouldn't be here today,” he said.

Perry leaves behind five grandchildren, including Madison, and one great grandchild.