Innocent bystander describes Wyoming shooting ordeal

Ricardo Sandoval and Brisli Alvarado (Jan. 30, 2015)


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A day after a rampage that left a Wyoming police officer wounded and the suspect shot as well, neighbors living in the 200 block of Abbie Street SE are sharing their close-call stories.

But none of those close calls match what Ricardo Sandoval went through Thursday afternoon.

Sandoval, his wife and three children, ages 10, 7 and 2, were inside their home when they heard shots fired.

Through interpreter Brisli Alvarado, Sandoval described how he pulled aside the curtain in one of the home’s bedrooms to see what was happening.

“He just went like that,” said Alvarado, describing Sandoval’s moves as he reached to pull back the curtain. “Trying to peek at what happened… when the shot came through.”

“When he took a little peek… it’s when he heard the shot and the shot passed right through his stomach,” Alvarado told 24 Hour News 8.

That’s when Sandoval said he saw the suspect, 31-year-old Al James, who lives just a block to the north, point a gun and fire.

An undated photo of Al James. (Courtesy Facebook)
An undated photo of Al James. (Courtesy Facebook)

The shot went through the siding under the window through which Sandoval was looking, through the drywall and into Sandoval’s stomach.

The wound was superficial but the fear was anything but.

“And that’s when he told his wife to grab the three kids in the room and take them downstairs as quick as they could,” Alvarado said.

At one point, Sandoval said he heard pounding at the back door of his home. He said James was trying to get into the home.

Sandoval looked for a weapon, a stick — anything he could — to defend his family and waited.

Police eventually shot James, but not before he wounded Wyoming Public Safety Officer Frank Hartuniewicz.

Officer Frank Hartuniewicz
Officer Frank Hartuniewicz

The 15-year Wyoming police veteran had responded to reports of a domestic disturbance at James’ home.

Hartuniewicz was hit between the bottom of his bulletproof vest and his belt line. He’s now home recovering from his injuries.

James is in critical condition at an undisclosed hospital.

Sandoval said he is thankful his family made it through the ordeal.

“He just thanks God that nothing serious happened,” Alvarado said.

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