Heather Charlebois, 42, of DeLand, Florida, spent five days thinking she had been hit by a firework while celebrating the Fourth of July. She went to the hospital days later, where doctors found a .38-caliber bullet lodged 1 1/2 inches deep in her leg.
Charlebois was celebrating Independence Day on the patio of a bar when she was shot. She said she felt a sting around 10:35 p.m. as she sat at a table.
“My first thought was somebody hit me, slapped me open-handed really hard on my leg and pinched me, but it did not make any sense because I didn't see anyone,” Charlebois told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
“I don’t recall hearing a gunshot,” she added. With the noise of firecrackers being set off everywhere, the band and the people at the bar, the only thing she heard was “the penetration of the bullet going through my jeans and into my leg.”
She and her boyfriend went into the bathroom to check on it. There was some blood and other fluids draining from the wound. She thought she had been injured by a firecracker.
According to police, Charlebois did not go to the hospital until five days after the incident. Doctors identified the bullet in an X-ray, and are advising against surgery because it is next to a major artery, reports Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Police are still trying to figure out where the bullet came from. Dan Reed, the owner of Cafe Da Vinci, where Charlebois was celebrating, said he thinks an irresponsible person fired a gun and the bullet fell from the sky.
“Well, it’s safe to say that at the moment we don’t know where it came from,” DeLand Police Sgt. Chris Estes said. “There is no indication a gun was fired in close proximity to where she was sitting at this point, so another theory is that it was fired into the air from a distance.”
“It’s just crazy, you know?" Charlebois told WESH. "It’s kind of surreal and cool and not cool, and it made me mad and it made me laugh."
“I’m not anti-gun, but I’m anti-idiot-carrying-a-gun,” she added.
Charlebois said she's worried about the lead in the bullet and that it may move, but she feels lucky to be alive.
“I feel very fortunate,” she said. “I have four kids, and we have been through a lot.”