Gun malfunction may have saved Manatee woman shot Friday

rdymond@bradenton.comJune 16, 2013 

BRADENTON -- A gun malfunction may have spared a Bradenton woman from a worse fate after police reported she was shot in the face by her husband Friday.

Steven Pinel was charged with attempted murder Sunday in the non-fatal shooting of his wife Friday night. Pinel reportedly was unable to fire additional rounds after the first shot, said Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski.

"There was an issue," Radzilowski said Sunday afternoon, not wishing to elaborate further. "All we are saying is that he had a problem with the gun and she was able to flee."

Pinel allegedly shot his wife in the face at 11:49 p.m. Friday while she was sleeping in a home in the 4800 block of 51st Street West, Radzilowski said.

"She told a neighbor that he had hit her in the face with the gun, but actually he had shot her and she didn't know it because she was sleeping," Radzilowski said. "It must have felt like a massive blow, like a punch, which is why she thought she had been hit with a blunt object."

The wife's injuries were not life-threatening and she remains hospitalized, Radzilowski said. The small caliber bullet that hit her in the face "did significant damage."

"It just didn't render her unconscious," Radzilowski said.

Pinel later wrecked his vehicle in a ditch along State Road 70 near Interstate 75, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, and tried unsuccessfully to hijack the vehicle of a passerby, who stopped to offer assistance after the crash.

Witnesses said the driver of the vehicle in the ditch pointed a gun at them before the driver ran off.

"I expect there will be charges coming from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office regarding Mr. Pinel's pointing of a gun at those people," Radzilowski said.

Deputies arrested Pinel at 3:20 a.m. Saturday while he was walking through the Tara subdivision west of Interstate 75. He was taken to a local hospital under guard.

The Bradenton Police Department reported Pinel likely suffered a broken neck in the accident that sent his vehicle into the ditch.

Radzilowski said at 11 a.m. Sunday, Pinel was well enough to be transferred from Manatee Memorial Hospital to the Manatee County jail.

"We don't know the motive for this," Radzilowski said. "Our detectives are working on it."

Pinel is being held without bond.

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