'I thank the Lord I'm here:' Durham woman lucky to be alive after celebratory gunfire comes through window

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wilmetta Wheat wasn't sitting in her normal chair watching TV Tuesday night after it officially became 2020.

For that, she's thankful.

Right after midnight, she heard what she thought was "ice" coming through her bedroom skylight window-- except it was a bullet which proceeded to fall to the ground.

"I know it was not firecrackers-- it was definitely gunshots that's what I heard and it was very close," Wheat said. "It wasn't like in the distance: it was too close for comfort."

She had just dropped her daughter off for a New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Durham and was in her closet. Normally, she said she sits in the place where the bullet came down with the family's dog.

"She's always sitting there," said Suzan Smiles, Wilmetta's daughter, who rushed home after hearing the news. "My dog is always there and to see how close it was-if she had been sitting there, it would've injured her."

Wheat said she called police immediately after only to find that she was the third person to report "celebratory gunfire."

She filed a police report over the phone.

"It shouldn't be done in the city limits-- especially in a residential area it shouldn't be done," Wheat said. "It's crazy-- it's just crazy because what goes up has to come down."

Wheat has called her insurance company. Her HOA in Milan Woods has told her to let her neighbors know so they can check for shell casings in their backyards.

"It doesn't have to happen," Smiles said. it's just a lapse of judgment and people can definitely be injured in situations like this."
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