Ted Leitner, San Diego Padres Sportscaster, Says His Son's Punch Deflected Bullet

A 19-year-old man shot in the midsection during a fight outside of a Scottsdale house last week would have suffered worse injuries but for a well-timed punch, says the man's father.

Ted Leitner, a sportscaster for the San Diego Padres and other teams, told a San Diego Union-Tribune columnist that one of  his six sons, Ryan, threw the punch just as his attacker pulled the trigger:

"That punch probably saved his life," said Leitner, noting that "it deflected the shot downward." Ryan's twin brother, Nicholas, who was also there, immediately drove him to the hospital.

Leitner told columnist Diane Bell that his son was released from the hospital yesterday:

"The great news is the bullet missed all his internal organs," Leitner said. "It missed his spine and his colon by yay much."

A Scottsdale police write-up of the incident states that the younger Leitner started an argument with Zachary Baca, who had shown up to the house in the 7700 block of East Verde Lane with two friends just before 2 a.m. on Sunday. Baca knew some of Leitner's friends in the home, but didn't know Leitner.

The dispute "became physical," and Baca drew his handgun and blasted Leitner in the stomach.

Baca, a young scofflaw with various minor offenses on his record, was later arrested in Avondale with his buddies. He was charged with aggravated assault, and his friends are accused of drug and weapons violations.

As for Ryan Leitner's amazing punch: Sergeant Mark Clark, Scottsdale police spokesman, says investigators are still trying to determine precisely what happened but that Leitner had no injuries to his hand.

Maybe he knocked the gun itself with his fist or changed the angle of his body, resulting in a less-damaging shot. Either way, a shot to the gut is still pretty brutal.

Zachary Baca, 22, is accused of aggravated assault in the shooting.
Zachary Baca, 22, is accused of aggravated assault in the shooting.
Image: Scottsdale Police

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >