‘I’m just happy I’m alive’: Police seek new leads 10 years after man shot in the face

Shooting survivor still waits for answers

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - Henrico Police are seeking the public’s help in solving a cold case where a man was shot in the face nearly 10 years ago.

On March 11, 2010 just before 11 p.m., officers responded to the 4900 block of Park Meadows Lane for the report of a shooting.

When officers arrived on scene, they found Terry Nero, then 53-years-old, suffering from a single gunshot wound to the face.

Nero said a single bullet smashed through his kitchen window. His elderly mother, a retired nurse, saved his life. Nero was taken to the hospital in critical condition but recovered and is now pleading for answers to who is responsible for the shooting.

“It’s no accident that someone tried to kill me," Nero said. "This was purposeful, intentional and well planned.”

“While Henrico police have been committed to this investigation following-up on leads, Mr. Nero has faced a lengthy recovery himself,” police said in a news release Wednesday.

Thursday detectives met with Nero ahead of the 10 year anniversary of the shooting. Henrico Chief of Police Humberto Cardounel also released a message about the case.

"Imagine being shot with your 79-year-old mother watching five feet away with no premonition of what was to come,” Nero said.

The now 63-year-old remembers the shooting like it was yesterday. Nero read a statement expressing his feelings on the incident a decade later – asking the community to hold the shooter responsible.

"This is the area in the rear of the house, this small wood line, where we believe the shot came from,” said Henrico Detective Doug West.

Police believe that single shot fired through the window was from a high-powered rifle. Yet somehow Nero survived.

“I’m just happy I’m alive,” he said.

In the years that followed, Nero underwent nearly 40 surgeries and procedures.

"This is my fibula from my left leg right here [in my upper jaw],” Nero said.

It’s that reconstructive jaw surgery that gave him joy in a difficult stretch of recovery.

“They were willing to go ahead and try... I was excited about it,” he said.

Despite this life-changing event Nero still lives at his home 10 years later.

“Being in the home is irrelevant to me,” he said. “It’s just a house.”

Nero and Henrico police believe the shooting was not random; rather that he was the intended target.

"I know the person who came here would never come back," Nero said.

“Dozens of people have been spoken to and interviewed," West said. “We believe there are people with knowledge about this events; events that led up to it, following and we’d like to hear from them.”

In June 2019, thanks to fundraising through family and friends, along with help from Hughes Outdoor Media, a message with Nero’s website and the phrase, “9 Yrs – NO ARRESTS, HOW COME?” began rotating on among four billboards along I-95 in Richmond.

“All I look forward to now is that people going up and down this interstate see this, and realize that there’s danger still out there,” Nero said in 2019. “That somebody else is going to get hurt if they haven’t already.”

NBC12 has spoken to Nero multiple times since this incident happened.

In May 2012, Nero explained how he was set to undergo major reconstructive surgery after being shot in the face. The 18-hour surgery was significant because doctors had to rebuild Nero’s upper jaw.

"I haven't been able to chew food in two years,” Nero said in 2012. “I don't have the life I had. Somebody took that away from me with malicious intent.”

Despite the seasons changing over time, Nero is still focused on getting justice.

“You need to stop hiding because it’s not going to be good for you when judgment day comes,” he said.

Anyone with information on this crime can call Henrico Police at (804) 501-5000. You may also submit tips on the “P3” tip app on your smartphone or tablet, remaining anonymous, or by calling Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000.

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