STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) – A Stockton, California woman was inside her home Wednesday night when a stray bullet came down through the roof, ricocheted off the floor and hit her in the head.
Pam Picchi, 62, had just bent down to pick up a pair of shoes when she heard a whistle followed by a loud bang.
“It was almost like a pressure vacuum, you felt it before you heard it,” Picchi said. “All of a sudden there was this huge explosion and something hit me in the forehead.”
It turned out to be a .45 caliber bullet that blew a hole through her roof and an even bigger one in the ceiling.
“It was pretty substantial force, but I’m not injured,” Picchi said. “It hurts, but it’s not like (the bullet) broke skin or anything.”
Police didn’t receive any reports of gunfire where the stray bullet landed, but Officer Joe Silva said this serves as a reminder about the dangers of firing off celebratory rounds.
“It’s coming down at that high rate of speed that can go through the roof of a residence, or a vehicle, and strike someone and possibly kill them,” Silva said.
Bullets shot into the air can climb as high as 2 miles, stay in flight for more than a minute and then come down at between 300 and 700 feet per second.
Celebratory gunfire happens most often around holidays, usually on New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July.
“It is illegal,” Silva said. “And if any of our officers catch someone doing that, they’re going to be going right to jail.”
Shooting a gun into the air is categorized as negligent discharge of a firearm and carries a maximum penalty of up to three years.
Pacchi views the incident as an unlucky occurrence with a lucky outcome and believes a direct hit to the head would have been much worse.
“Know that if you’re shooting a gun up in the air, that something has to happen to that bullet — so be careful,” she said.