Bronx man uses backpack as umbrella, and it ends up blocking a stray bullet — likely saving his life

The Tuesday night forecast for Fernelin Encarnacion: Showers likely, with a 100% chance of a miracle.

The 22-year-old Bronx man cheated death while avoiding the raindrops, pulling a leather Jordan backpack over his head to stay dry and dodging a bullet that tore into the red and black bag — instead of deep into his forehead.

He was walking barely a half block from home when his attention suddenly shifted from staying dry to staying alive.

“I was using the bag as an umbrella,” the fortunate survivor told the Daily News from his St. Barnabas Hospital bed. “When I reached Davidson Ave., I turned right. I did four steps, and I heard, ‘Pop!’ and (the bullet) was on my head and I fell.”

Cops recovered four .380-caliber shell casings from about a block away, leading police to suspect Encarnacion was not the intended target of the gunman. A broken gold chain was found near the casings, police said.

The young man, who moved to the Bronx last year from Saint Maarten in the Caribbean, felt warm blood on his forehead as he flagged down a passing police car.

“You know something?” an astounded police officer told the bleeding man. “You’re a lucky guy.”

The decelerating slug popped him right in the forehead, breaking the skin without entering his skull. He had taken the day off from his job working at a Quik Park at Penn Station to get three teeth removed by his dentist.

Encarnacion knew immediately that he was hit.

“I asked (the cop), ‘Is this a real bullet?’ ” he recalled. “’Cause it doesn’t feel like it. It didn’t go in. I didn’t feel it.”

His sister Pamela, 24, rushed to the shooting scene to make sure her kid brother was all right.

“He’s talking a lot,” she told The News. “Now he wants to go to Miami to take a vacation. But he’s good, thank God. It’s a miracle.”

A second sister, Caroline, and Fernelin’s girlfriend joined her later at the hospital. The wounded man’s mother was on a flight north from their homeland.

“He’s really a hard worker,” Pamela Encarnacion said. “He works 12 hours a day. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t go out. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

But he was wearing the right headgear — Pamela said the material in the bag was very thick.

Encarnacion said he had just exited the No. 4 train at Fordham Road and was headed home when he decided to grab a bite to eat. It was nearly the last choice of his life.

“I feel OK now,” he said. “But before, I was really scared. When I went to get something to eat, look what happened.”

Pamela said her brother had previously survived a bicycle accident in which he fell and suffered a massive concussion.

Fernelin had one request for his sibling: Go back and recover his lifesaving backpack. The bag is apparently in police custody, and the family intends to bring it home.

“He was asking me if it had a hole,” Pamela said.

Credit: NY Daily News

Leave a Reply