Friday, June 01, 2007

Cell Phone Saves Man From Intruder's Gunshot

Roger Baxter may the luckiest man in America.

"Well, I'm still here. So I guess I am lucky, " Baxter said.

The Vietnam veteran was shot Tuesday inside his own home. As he fought the invader with his crutch, the gunman fired a shot that deflected off Baxter's cell phone.

"It's not my time," he said.

Baxter was wounded in the incident but the cell phone slowed the bullet down. He noted that he just had the phone programmed.

Baxter's becoming a veteran at cheating death. The 57-year-old lost his lower right leg last year after being hit by a semi-trailer while he was working for the Colorado Department of Transportation on Oct. 23, 2006.

He has since had 13 operations and was released from Swedish Medical Center in Feb. 6.

"I looked down and I saw I had a leg missing, and thought 'Oh well, I'll deal with it,'" he told KMGH-TV after his work injury.

Tuesday's shooting happened shortly after 11 a.m. Baxter said he and his wife had just returned home from getting a haircut so they could prepare for a physical therapy session when he saw a young man trying to open his safe.

"I told him to take the gun out of my face. I thought it was pretty low of him trying to rob somebody that's disabled, " Baxter said.

Instead of begging or pleading, Baxter said, "I was mad."

So he used the one thing he had in his hand, his crutches.

"And I hauled off and hit him with one of my crutches. And he shot me. (It) Hit me in my cell phone and ricocheted off of that, gave me a big gouge along the side here," Baxter said.

Baxter's wife, Deb, said she had hoped he had finished overcoming adversity.

"I thought he had, but apparently not. 'Cause they say they won't give you any more than you can handle. But, I think we've had enough," Deb Baxter said. "He's just a very lucky person. And he's not done on this earth yet. That's the way we see it."

"Well, it's like this. I'm destined to do something I haven't done yet," Roger Baxter said. "Hopefully I can take and do something that's gonna save someone else's life,"

He hopes to offer safety instruction for C-DOT someday.

In the near future, he can't wait to see the neighbors.

"They'll probably say, 'Baxter's at it again,'" he said with a laugh.

He bought state lottery and Powerball tickets on Monday because he said he already knows he's lucky.

Aurora police arrested two teenage boys in connection with the shooting. One is believed to be the intruder and the other a lookout.

Baxter said he's just "a tough old bird."

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