10011 Estero Town Commons, Suite 102A, Estero, FL
Three Oaks Parkway
Pizza delivery man Brian Thompson was returning from his last stop of the night when he felt the blow.
“It felt like a baseball bat hitting you in the chest at a good clip,” he recalled. “And then it burns.” It was a bullet, and it had grazed his left side and fallen into Thompson’s car as he drove north on Three Oaks Parkway. Another inch, and Thompson might lie in a hospital bed. As it stands, he’s bandaged, sore and a little freaked out.
“I’ll probably stay away from the road for a few days,” he said on Tuesday.
Lee County detectives are looking for clues in what appears to be a random shooting. Although Thompson believes the same, he has other fears — that someone might have mistaken his car for a coworker’s, or that someone might be taking random potshots at cars.
The shooting happened around 8:50 p.m. on Monday night, as Thompson headed home from his final delivery of the night. He was driving north on Three Oaks Parkway, just south of Williams Road, and his windows were rolled down, an effort to air out the pizza smell from his car.
When he was struck, he thought something like a flying bat may have come through the window. Then he saw the blood on his left side. Instead of calling 911 immediately, Thompson drove in a panic back to the pizza shop, the Jet’s Pizza at Estero Town Commons.
“I was nervous that I was by myself, and I didn’t want to die by myself,” he said.
The wound wasn’t serious, and Thompson returned home after a few hours at the hospital. A doctor told him he was lucky.
Detectives, meanwhile, combed the area, a stretch of road bisecting woods on the west and a community, Shadow Wood, on the east. The investigation is ongoing, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said.
Thompson believes a bullet may have gone astray from someone’s target practice. On Tuesday, he offered detectives another theory: A coworker made the news on Monday for flying an upside-down American flag on his antenna.
“I drive a white car very similar to that gentleman’s car,” Thompson said. “And I believe it’s a possibility that someone is (angered that) he’s doing that, and they targeted the white car with the Jet’s Pizza sign on it and thought it was him.”
He also wonders if someone was aiming at the lighted Jet’s Pizza sign on the top of his car, or, even worse, if someone was shooting randomly at cars.
To be sure, Thompson plans to take a week off from work. He remains shocked by how close he came to serious injury.
“I consider myself blessed,” he said.