The spot where Penjore was shot at. (Prabin Khaling)
Gangtok, March 6: A 21-year-old youth had a “miraculous escape” last night when he was shot at from a point blank range allegedly by a contractor after an argument over a girl outside a disco at Baluwakhani near here.
Penjore Dorjee Bhutia had been shot at by Temba Lhendup Lachenpa in the neck with a .32mm pistol from a distance of less than a feet.
The bullet that entered the left side of the throat and exited from the right did not damage the wind pipe or any other vital organs.
Penjore, who had just completed an animation course from Bangalore, had gone to the disco last night to celebrate Lhosar, the Tibetan New Year. He is a resident of Tadong here.
“He was with his friends on the dance floor when Lachenpa, 44, entered with a girl. Around 11.15pm, Penjore and Lachenpa had an altercation when the latter found that the girl was trying to be friendly with the former. The duo traded blows on the floor and the disco authorities asked them to leave,” said a police source.
Outside the disco, Lachenpa whipped out a pistol and fired at Penjore. Hearing the gunshot, police from the nearby Vajra outpost rushed to the spot.
“Lachenpa had kept his licensed firearm inside his car. When he saw Penjore leaving the place, he suddenly took it out at fired at him,” said Tshering Sherpa, the inspector in-charge of Gangtok Sadar police station.
Lachenpa, a resident of Burtuk in Gangtok, is a contractor and was drunk at the time of the incident. The police arrested him and recovered the firearm with two bullets and a magazine. The spent cartridge was also seized from the spot.
Penjore was taken to the STNM hospital, 4km away, from where he was referred to the Central Referral Hospital at Tadong.
“It was around midnight when one of my son’s friends rang me up and said he had been shot at. I immediately rushed to the hospital,” said Passang Dorjee Bhutia, the father.
S. Chakraborty, the head of the ENT department at the hospital, said Penjore was out of danger. “The youth had a miraculous escape. The bullet hit the collarbone and moved upward through the left side, before exiting from the other side without damaging his wind pipe or other vital organs. If the bullet had passed through even a millimetre to the right or the left, he could have died. He is out of danger now but we are monitoring him at the ICU,” said Chakraborty.
A case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC has been registered against Lachenpa.