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Kittanning man shot in face

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

ITTANNING -- A Kittanning man, bleeding from a gunshot wound of the head early Friday, told borough police officers that his friend accidentally shot him in the face while the two were at a South McKean Way residence.

Brian Lynn Rosenberger, 18, of Kittanning was arraigned Friday morning and jailed on $25,000 bail in connection with the shooting.

At the 115 S. McKean Way residence yesterday afternoon, police extracted the bullet that they said entered through 30-year-old Erik Zak's left cheek and exited from his right eyebrow area. Zak's family members said yesterday the victim is expected to live, but has multiple facial fractures and will have to undergo surgery.

Zak's brother, Kevin Zak of Rural Valley, said he hopes to have a fundraiser because Erik Zak does not have medical insurance. Erik Zak is the father of three children.

His mother, Pauline Crissman, said she was upstairs watching television when she heard her son, Erik, crying. She came downstairs to see him lying in a pool of blood.

"There was a huge puddle of it," she said.

While Rosenberger called 911, Crissman said she sat with her son until help arrived.

"I stayed right here with Erik until they came," she said.

According to police, Rosenberger was visiting another person at the South McKean Way residence about 11 p.m. Thursday when Erik Zak arrived there from work. Rosenberger told police that he and Zak played video games for a few hours when Zak went upstairs to take a shower.

Upon the victim's return to the downstairs area, police said Rosenberger asked Zak where his .45-caliber gun was to which he replied that it was in a kitchen cabinet.

According to a police report: Rosenberger said, "I got the gun, turned around and pointed it at him just joking around. I pulled the trigger, he got hit and went down."

The suspect told police he didn't think the gun was loaded and that the safety was on, but that he didn't check either.

Zak was transported to ACMH Hospital and later flown by medical helicopter to UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, Chief Ed Cassesse said.

The victim was shot from about 10 feet away, Cassesse said, and is lucky to be alive.

A preliminary hearing for Rosenberger is scheduled for Wednesday. He is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and three counts of reckless endangerment. Two other people were in the residence at the time, Cassesse said.

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