A 61-year-old Texas nurse was killed while partying with family members on New Year’s Eve after she was hit by a stray bullet while standing outside her house.
61-year-old Philippa Ashford was discharging fireworks with her family and neighbors on a peaceful cul de sac in a Houston suburb. Suddenly, she screamed out that a bullet hit her. The shot had been fired from an unknown place.
“I think I have been shot,” she told her family, sources reports. She died at the scene where she was discharging fireworks.
Authorities stated that they believe Ashford was hit by celebratory gunfire from outside the next neighborhood. Detectives are unable to locate the source of the shooting. A sheriff’s spokesman said that they do not indicate that any of her family members or immediate neighbors had shot a gun. There have been no shell casings recovered from the neighbor.
“Today we add another example of an innocent life taken due to this stupid and thoughtless behavior,” Ed Gonzalez, the Harris County sheriff, said. “Our area has a long history with the celebratory shooting.”
The 61-year-old worked at the Comprehensive Psychiatric Assessment Service at the Menninger Clinic, a mental health and addiction treatment facility in southwest Houston, for more than a decade as a nurse manager.
“The community is deeply saddened by the terrible loss of Philippa ‘Phil’ Ashford, who was a nurse manager at our hospital and worked as a leader and mentor to our nursing and clinical team,” the president, and CEO of the Menninger Clinic, Armando Colombo, said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her family and friends at this sad time, and we offer our help and deepest sympathy.”
The 61-year-old was also an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
Police have regularly issued public alerts warning the public not to shoot their guns into the air while celebrating holidays. According to sources, celebratory gunfire can be a crime that bears a punishment of up to a $4,000 fine or one year in prison.
“It’s a violation, and you can kill someone,” Sheriff Gonzalez said. “We must further the message that this will not be tolerated in Harris County. What goes up must come down.”