EAST MANATEE -- The Fourth of July was full of fun for most folks, but the holiday brought some moments of mayhem to Manatee County.
Two women were hit by shrapnel from exploding illegal fireworks, and a stray celebratory bullet struck a home during Saturday night's revelry.
The exploding shrapnel incident happened about 9:38 p.m. Saturday in the 7800 block of 110th Avenue East, Bradenton, according to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office report.
The women, ages 53 and 32, were watching a display of illegal fireworks, when a mortar tube about to launch a rocket fell over. A man, identified as Jeffery DeMarco, 29, tried right the tube but it fired, sending a rocket toward the women, according to a news release.
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The rocket hit a garage door, exploded and sent the casing in several directions.
The women were hit by shrapnel in their lower legs and feet, deputies said.
The older woman's injuries were more serious, and she was taken to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton for treatment. The younger woman was taken to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, according to the sheriff's office.
DeMarco, who was charged with possession of illegal fireworks, was cooperative, and deputies said the misfiring of the rocket appeared to have been accidental.
Bullet strikes home
The bullet struck a home in the 3200 block of Fifth Street East at 10:07 p.m. Saturday, according to a sheriff's office report. The bullet entered a home through a window, penetrated an interior wall and landed on the floor.
No injuries were reported.
It appears the bullet may have been fired into the air in a celebratory fashion before it hit the home, according to the report.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.