Refrigerator stops bullet during celebratory gunfire

January 1, 2010 9:34:05 PM PST
A family is relieved after so called 'celebratory' gunfire forced them to hide in their house. They're grateful, of all things, to their refrigerator for stopping a bullet. It happened at a home on Westover in southeast Houston.

"I was scared I was gonna get shot with a bullet and I was going to be bleeding everywhere. It was traumatic," said homeowner Geneva Richards.

New Year's began with the sound of bullets and one came into the kitchen.

"I'm looking around, looking around and I see the blinds are broken," said Geneva.

The bullet came through the window, hit the side of the refrigerator and passed through it.

"It went straight through here and to there," Geneva showed us.

The bullet lodged in the back wall of the freezer. Geneva and her husband, J.J. Richards, and their two and four-year-old children were watching TV in the living room at the time.

"It could have come right through the wall to where we were sitting," said Geneva.

"I could see people shooting guns in the air and I know it was guns because you could see the muzzle fire about a foot to two feet long coming out the end of the guns. And it was more than one person," said J.J.

They said the New Year's gunfire continued for more than an hour.

"Are they gonna come through my living room?" Geneva said she wondered. "Are they gonna come through my bedroom or my kids?"

They said they called Houston police twice and J.J. went to the police station in person Friday morning. An officer came out and removed what he told them was a 45-caliber bullet from the refrigerator.

"You have a hole in your refrigerator and two small children inside the house and they have to hide in a closet to keep from getting shot," said the children's grandfather, Jim Richards. 'It's out of control. It has to stop."

The Houston Police Department didn't have an exact number of celebratory gunfire calls from Thursday night. They have said on Christmas and New Years in 2008, they had received hundreds of calls for celebratory gunfire within the city.