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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NY. Williamsburg - Elderly can-collector Victor Lemanski caught in gang crossfire, hit by stray bullet

Victor Lemanski was hit by a stray bullet strolling down Humboldt St. in Williamsburg

An 86-year-old man collecting cans was hit by a stray bullet Tuesday when a gun battle erupted on a Brooklyn street, cops and family said.

Victor Lemanski was strolling down Humboldt St. near Boerum St. in Williamsburg about 1:10 p.m. when two groups of people started shooting at each other, police and witnesses said.

Lemanski dropped to the ground near his cart full of cans after one of the bullets tore through his left thigh, witnesses said.

"This guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time," said a man who lives nearby. "I've been in this neighborhood for 42 years and I'm telling you this happens all the time. It's a scary neighborhood."

The retired steelworker was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition. Lemanski, heavily sedated and wearing an oxygen mask, was unable to speak at his hospital bed.

"We're in shock - we don't know how this could've happened," said his daughter, Barbara Szpilka, 53. "He goes to church on Humboldt St. every day and sometimes every night."

Lemanski, who lives 2 miles away in Greenpoint, was just blocks away from Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church when he was shot.

"My family has lived there 48 years," said Szpilka, who lives in Florida. "Nothing like this has ever happened. My father is a good man."

No one has been arrested.

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