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Officers said a Hillsborough family found a .45 caliber bullet in a child's room when they came home from vacation.
"I saw that it was pushed out. It reminded me a little bit of a nail pop, but more than that," said Brad Williams, the homeowner. "So I thought, huh - I want to get a better look at it. So I started walking up the steps so I could see it straight on. And I stepped on something, and I thought maybe one of the cats knocked a Christmas decoration down. And I look down and sure enough - that's a .45-slug I just stepped on."
Police believe the bullet had been fired into the air to celebrate the beginning of 2019. They said that is something people should never do.
"From top to bottom, and people even calling the police department liars, that we made it up to get publicity and all that. It benefits us in no way at all to make up a story such as this," said Lt. Andy Simmons with Hillsborough Police.
Officials said the .45 caliber bullet went through the child's bedroom wall. Nobody was injured, but officers said they easily could have been.
"I've lived here for almost 18 years now, and we've never had an incident like this, or even anything remotely similar," Williams said.
Police took to Facebook to warn against this type of behavior.
"Hillsborough we are better than this, this is not ok and in the future, I hope somebody reading this will make a more responsible decision," the police department said in a Facebook post.
The message was met with some backlash.
"This is really more of a 'don't be an idiot,' than a 'guns are bad' type of thing," said Williams, in response to social media feedback.
"Safe gun handling is what this comes down to," Simmons added. "Not taking anybody's guns, which (people have claimed) at this point. But just be safe with everything you do with a firearm. These are the types of things that can happen if you're not."
Hillsborough Police have sent the bullet to a lab for testing.
This warning comes as a Raleigh woman remains in the hospital after being hit by a bullet that was fired into the air.
The woman was in downtown Raleigh celebrating First Night when she felt a sharp pain in her stomach.
She ended up in the hospital having to have surgery and spend more than a week in bed.
Related: Friend, mom of student hit by stray bullet speak out