Paul Gordon didn't even see the semiautomatic rifle that almost took his life Saturday in the basement of a South Omaha home, his brother said.
Gordon, 23, and longtime friend Michael Overgaard, 22, had been wrestling — “just kidding around,” said Nick Gordon, Paul's 17-year-old brother.
But things got heated, and Overgaard got his SKS-45 rifle.
“Paul was pulling off his hoodie, and he didn't even see the gun,” Nick Gordon said.
“They were about eight to 10 feet apart when Paul was shot.”
Overgaard, who was taken into custody at the scene, was booked at the Douglas County Correctional Center on suspicion of first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony. The charges were reduced Monday by prosecutors to second-degree assault.
A judge ordered Overgaard held on $50,000 bail.
Overgaard was released after posting 10 percent of the bail amount, $5,000. He is scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing Feb. 22.
The shooting occurred about 4 a.m. in Overgaard's residence at 4521 A St.
Nick Gordon said several people had gathered at the house after a baby shower for Overgaard's girlfriend at another location.
Most people were upstairs, Nick Gordon said, and the few who were in the basement were caught completely off-guard by the shooting. Nick said his hand was grazed by the bullet as he tried to push his brother upstairs and away from Overgaard.
The bullet that grazed Nick tore into Paul Gordon's midsection. Deb Stanton of Overland Park, Kan., said doctors at the Nebraska Medical Center operated on her nephew for seven hours, and he is expected to survive.
The doctors told the victim's family that he might not have lived if Haley Duren, a young woman in the basement, hadn't stanched the bleeding.
Stanton said the Gordon family “will always be grateful” for Duren's quick response and for the staff at UNMC.
Paul Gordon's relatives don't know why Overgaard became angry, but they hold him responsible for his actions, Stanton said.
“The family's position is, if you point that gun, you have it in your mind to use it — friend or not,” she said. “Paul will tell you he doesn't like guns. He won't own one.”
Paul Gordon, who attended Central High School, does like cars, stereos and spending time with his family, Nick Gordon said. The brothers are two of the four children of Bill and Linda Gordon of Omaha.
Paul Gordon works at a doughnut shop and lives with his sister, Brandy Gordon, 24, in Waterloo, where he helps her care for her two daughters. “Paul was always the big protector with a very good heart,” his sister said. “He loves spending time with his nieces and really helps me out a lot.”
Stanton said when Brandy was hospitalized in 2007 after a car accident, Paul Gordon didn't want to leave his sister's side.
“I remember him saying, 'Get her out of that bed and I'll take her place,' ” Stanton said. “He couldn't stand to see his sister in pain.”
Now the family takes turns watching over their son and brother and nephew in the intensive care unit. It may be two weeks before he can be discharged from the hospital, his aunt said.
“I don't think anyone could realize how close this family is and how much Paul means to us,” Stanton said.
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