Saved by the Skin of his Teeth, Braces Deflect Bullet

A teenager's braces are being credited for possibly saving his life.

Anthony Pittman, 18, of Pontiac, Michigan is recovering after a bullet hit him in the mouth on Wednesday.

Police said a .45-caliber bullet struck Pittman's braces, which fragmented the bullet.

"We believe what happened is that the bullet was split, in part by the braces, so it fragmented and continued into his mouth, tongue and teeth," said Pontiac police Captain Wendy Keelty. "But because it was fragmented, it didn't penetrate through the back of his neck."

Police said several teens got into an argument and several people began shooting.

"There are a lot of punks in the hood with guns," said Pittman's uncle, Harold Allen Jr.

Officers said they found shell casings from at least three different kinds of weapons.

"It was like the O-K Coral," said Keelty.

Police are looking for Paul Marshall Pierce in connection with the shooting.

Pittman was rushed to an area hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

Health officials said many of his teeth were broken and his tongue is severely injured.

Doctors said it will be awhile before Pittman will be able to speak again.

There were no other injuries reported.

"It was an act of God and luck. He must have gotten some good braces," said Allen.