Philippa Ashford Harris County nurse, 61 killed by stray bullet while watching New Year’s Eve fireworks in her driveway at Texas home.
A Texas woman was killed by celebratory gunfire while watching New Year’s Eve fireworks in her driveway according to a report.
Philippa Ashford, 61, was outside her home in Harris County just after midnight on Wednesday as her family and friends were shooting off fireworks when she suddenly clutched her body and said: ‘I think I’ve been shot,’ according to ABC13.
It was at this moment the family matriarch then collapsed on the ground and died.
‘At this point from our witnesses and seeing at the scene, we believe this may very well be a case of celebratory gunfire somewhere else in the neighborhood,’ Sgt Ben Beall of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.
‘No indication a family member or anyone else in the cul-de-sac was discharging a firearm,’ Sgt Beall told ABC13.
Investigators are now canvassing the neighborhood for shell casings and interviewing residents to determine where the gunfire originated.
‘I don’t know you can even figure what the odds are,’ Beall said. ‘You’ve got the family together, celebrating the new year and now the matriarch of the family is deceased.’
‘We have no indication that any family member or anybody in the cul de sac was discharging a firearm and we’ve walked the streets and canvassed up and down to see if we can find any shell casings in the neighborhood and are not finding anything,’ Beall reiterated.
A neighbor said that Ashford and her family had gone outside after the clock hit 12am and deputies responding to a call about the shooting arrived 10 minutes later.
She worked in the acute stabilization unit, which is part of the crisis psychiatric branch.
Ashford also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
She was honored with the Texas Nurses Association District 9 Top 25 Outstanding Nurses Award in 2015.
The woman’s death follows Houston police and Harris County deputies previously issuing public alerts on New Year’s Eve warning the public not to discharge their weapons while celebrating. Celebratory gunfire can be classified as deadly conduct, a misdemeanor offense that carries a punishment of up to $4,000 fine or up to one year in prison.