ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Mike Donahue considers himself a lucky man. He was eating with some friends at the Big Catch Restaurant in St. Petersburg on New Year’s day when a bullet landed on him.
“I was just sitting with a couple people who were sailboaters. They were shocked as well,” said Donahue. “Then it came down, went through the roof and that’s the sound we heard when it hit the concrete it sounded like a gunshot, then it ricocheted off of something and hit me right in the chest here.”
The bullet singed Donahue’s skin, but he knows it could have been much worse.
“Yeah, very lucky,” said Donahue. “Had you been right under it when it came through the roof it would have killed somebody. “
Erin Doskey is the general manager at the restaurant. She knows the bullet could have landed anywhere and is simply thankful that no one was seriously hurt.
“No customers were harmed, no staff were harmed, it happens,” said Doskey “It’s a random act of violence. ”
But it’s violence that is senseless. St. Petersburg Police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez says the department is always trying to educate the public that celebratory gunfire is harmful and can be deadly.
“We see this every year. New Year’s Eve and 4th of July,” said Fernandez. “That bullet is going to come down somewhere and St. Petersburg is a very densely populated area. It’s going to hit someone’s car, their house, it could hit a person. So even without wanting to, you’re causing harm.”
The illegal practice accounts for more than 20 percent of all gunfire in the fourth quarter, according to gunfire tech company ShotSpotter. The company reports that in Quarter 4 of 2014, there were 16,597 incidents in ShotSpotter coverage areas
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