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Shooting victim Jeremy Dettinger said he understands accidents happen.

So if the bullet that struck his left buttock three months ago was fired accidentally, the 25-year-old North Codorus Township man said he has no hard feelings.

"Help me pay my medical bills — that's all I would have asked," Dettinger said. "Accidents do happen."

He said that person still has a chance to come forward and make things right. And if the shooter doesn't come forward? Well, Dettinger thinks there's a good way to describe the person:

"Coward."

The shooting: Dettinger and a friend were at the Martin Road home of Dettinger's parents on Oct. 26, pouring concrete for a new pole building, Dettinger said.

They decided to do some target shooting while the concrete dried, he said, explaining his parents have a private shooting range on their property.

"We were shooting for maybe 10 minutes or so and took a break and walked down to our targets to set them back up," Dettinger said. "As we were walking back, somebody else started shooting, and it wasn't any of us."

Dettinger said he knew the shot didn't come from the range because they had followed standard safety rules and unloaded their firearms before walking to the targets. He said he's been hunting since he's 12 years old and takes firearm safety seriously.

In all, they heard about three gunshots, he said.

"As soon as I heard them I started running for cover," he said, which is when Dettinger was shot. "I was pretty sure the shots came from up on the hill behind my parents' house, in the woods ... just north of Stoverstown."

Bullet came from rifle: Southwestern Regional Police said the bullet was fired from a high-powered rifle, likely from at least a mile away. Luckily, it lost quite a bit of velocity before hitting Dettinger, police have said.

"Right after I realized I got shot, I started yelling at the top of my lungs," Dettinger said. "I gave them a chance to come out and fess up. ... They would've heard me."

Police said despite a thorough investigation they still don't know who fired the bullet or why. They have said they suspect it was an accident.

Month of recovery: Dettinger has recovered.

"It took about a month to completely heal," he said. "But it could've been serious. One inch to the left or right could have changed things a lot."

Dettinger said he wants the shooter to come forward and take responsibility.

"If it was an accident, they still have a chance to come forward and say something," he said. "And if it was on purpose? Then I have an enemy."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Southwestern Regional Police at (717) 225-1333, ext. 101, or leave an anonymous tip on the department's website, www.swrpd.org. Or call 911.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

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