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Henrico man reveals why he believes he was shot in the face

HENRICO COUNTY, Va.  -- With its manicured lawns and tennis courts, Twin Hickory is one of the Richmond area's premier master-planned communities. Just minutes from his job, it seemed to be the perfect spot for Terry Nero to buy a home 18 years ago. Not where he ever expected someone would hide in his backyard with their own master plan. On March 10, 2010, someone fired a single gunshot through Nero's kitchen window - striking him in his face while he spoke with his mother.

"That's part of what really hurts me, that my mother had to witness this," Nero said.

Terry Nero

The bullet ripped Nero's face to shreds, shattering his jaw.

It was so bad, he had to lean forward on all fours in the ambulance, so he wouldn't choke on his own blood.

"Imagine watching your son's face be blown apart five feet away from you," Nero said.

More than eight years and 40 surgeries later, Nero lives his life much like he did before the shooting, but it still consumes him.

"Nobody should have to live with no closure," Nero said. "It's not something in your life 'I'm done with I've sold it.'  It stays there. You never forget."

Especially because the shooter has never been caught.

Terry Nero

"I know this happening to me could easily happen to somebody else if it already hasn't," Nero said.

He believes someone hired someone to kill him, but the hitman failed to deliver.

But who would want to kill Nero: a father of three who works in real estate?

"So, you've always felt in your heart you knew who did this to you?" CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked Nero.

"I have always known how this came about. How it was put together, exactly, I don't know," Nero said.

For the first time in eight years, he opened up to CBS 6 about what was going on in his life at the time of the shooting.

Terry Nero

"I was in the middle of a court case trying to protect a family member, and that's it. I was in court trying to protect a family member, and I had been to court many times for that sole purpose," Nero said.

He believes that case is directly connected to the attempt on his life.

"My plea to them is please consider what you've done to not just me, but my family, and why you did it because you probably didn't know why you were asked to do it," Nero said.

But despite Nero's theory, Henrico Investigator Doug Perry says the police department does not have any particular motive or person in mind after investigating the case extensively for eight years.

"Has the department ever had suspects related to this case in the past or persons of interest?" Hipolit asked Perry.

Doug Perry

"There have been persons of interest that have come up over the years and all of those have been investigated, but at this point the other detectives did not have enough proof to bring any charges in this case," Perry replied.

That's why the Henrico Police Chief brought Perry out of retirement to work solely on Nero's case.

"We want to stress to Mr. Nero and his family and friends that we are totally committed to prove who did this, bring closure to Mr. Nero," Perry said.

Perry, like Nero. believes the case will be solved when someone's guilty conscience or sense of empathy gets the best of them.

"It's going to take someone to come forward with some other information to get the proof we need to present this to the Commonwealth's Attorney," Perry said.

Until then, Nero remains committed to the peaceful Twin Hickory neighborhood where a bullet pierced the air so many years ago, and to his belief that justice will be served.

"As a victim, you don't ever give up, you don't," Nero said.

Nero has a website that is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who has information that leads to an arrest and conviction.

The Henrico Police Department says that tipsters can contact investigator Doug Perry directly, or call crime stoppers at 780-1000 if you want to remain anonymous.

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