Blood cascaded down a confused Will Kellen's face as his shooter's car squealed down a Greeley street. Two small shotgun pellets were lodged in his face – one burst into his nose and another burrowed into his forehead.
"I didn't really know what had happened," said the CSU senior business major, who expects to get one metal pellet removed from his nose later this week.
Catcalls and an argument led to the drive-by blast, Kellen said. Police suspect a gang member may have been involved.
It began as an ordinary Saturday night: Kellen and some friends went to a small party near the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Kellen's group – two men and three or four women – was strolling back to a friend's house. At about 11:30 p.m., near the intersection of 20th Street and 7th Avenue, a car of three or four men slowed down to shout remarks at the women.
Kellen said he thought they were just messing around. He and his male friend shouted back.
The car pulled over and the men got out.
Different witnesses remember different things about what followed, said Greeley Police Department Sgt. Joe Tymkowych. One of the men took off his shirt as the argument escalated, the sergeant said.
The women pleaded with Kellen and his friend.
"The girls said we should go home," he said. "We walked away. They got back in the car and sat in the car for a few minutes."
The group walked south on a sidewalk. Moments later the car screeched to a halt about 25 feet away from Kellen , the roar of its loud muffler nearly drowning out one woman's warning shout. A shotgun aimed out one of the car's windows.
The gun blasted, spraying pellets at Kellen and peppering the side of the house behind him. The pain did not register but blood immediately began to pour from Kellen's nose. One was stuck in the flesh on his forehead. He asked his friends what he looked like.
"They were trying to keep me calm, but at the same time I could tell they were kind of freaked out by it," Kellen said. "One by one the girls would look at me, scream and turn away."
Paramedics rushed Kellen by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where doctors extracted the pellet from his forehead. The little metal ball remaining in his nose is scheduled to be surgically removed this week.
Meanwhile, Greeley police are following up on some promising leads, though no suspects have been identified, Tymkowych said. He added the victim's group had no gang affiliations, though one of the assailants may have been a gang member.
"This is an isolated incident … actually involving two different types of people," Tymkowych said. "Students that are normally in that area with absolutely no problems for some reason crossed paths with other individuals who normally are not in that area."
Meanwhile, Kellen is on his feet.
"I have stitches in my head," he said, "but I'm going to be all right."