Stray bullet injures woman during church service - - Jackson, MS

Stray bullet injures woman during church service

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

A Canton woman is recovering after being hit by a falling bullet during a church service in Jackson.

"We heard a big, loud pop above our heads in the ceiling, and I looked up like everybody else, looked up to see where it went," said Tonia Barnes. "Immediately I felt a burning sensation in my back." 

The bullet grazed Barnes' lower back after striking the Macedonia Ministries church building from the sky on New Year's Eve.

"I didn't know whether or not I had been the bullet had went in me or anything," said Barnes. "I just didn't know. I didn't know the severity of it at all." 

Rev. Enoch Easter says Barnes and other church members, including several children, were in the fellowship hall at the time, getting ready to eat breakfast.

"God sent an angel to protect her because it could have hit her in the head and paralyzed her," said Rev. Easter. "Could have hit her in a vital organ. It was a powerful shell shooting." 

That bullet went through the church's metal roof, piercing the ceiling, then grazed Barnes and ricocheted off the floor, flying another 25 feet.

Easter says the bullet came from a high-powered rifle, likely fired to celebrate the new year. That kind of thing has happened before in Jackson.

Last year, a bullet went through a woman's ceiling, striking a pillow.

And an eight-year-old was struck in the head by a falling bullet in December 2009. She survived.

In these cases, it's incredibly difficult for law enforcement to determine where that bullet came from and who fired the shot.

"You shoot a weapon up in the air, the bullet has to come down somewhere, and you don't know where it's gonna hit," added Rev. Easter. "It could cause havoc in people's lives. You should think twice before shooting a firearm into the air." 

For Barnes, the whole experience makes her hopeful for what 2015 has to offer, further reinforcing her faith.

"It's making me go after God like never before," she said.

Jackson police are investigating the case.

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