Mom driving home from church service ‘catches bullet’ fired into car

RICHMOND, Va. -- A mother driving home from a late-night church service with her two children was struck by a stray bullet early New Year’s Day.

LaShawnda Pratt's finger was shattered by a bullet 15 minutes into 2017.

After undergoing surgery Sunday morning, Pratt now has pins in her pinky finger.

LaShawnda Pratt

LaShawnda Pratt

"I had just left church, me and the kids,” Pratt said. “And the bullet just hit the car out of nowhere – the front windshield."

Pratt said she had just taken a left off Dabbs House Road onto Nine Mile Road and was headed towards the interstate when she heard gunfire.

The young mother said she threw up her hand and basically caught the bullet when her windshield shattered.

LaShawnda Pratt's shattered windshield.

LaShawnda Pratt's shattered windshield.

"I tried to keep as calm as possible, because I’ve got young kids and I didn’t want to scare them,” Pratt said. “So I kept as calm as possible and drove to [VCU Medical Center].”

Pratt believes the random gunfire came from Creighton Court where officers were spotted later in the day Sunday.

Pratt said she hoped police can find the gunman.

"Just stop shooting on New Year’s," Pratt said. “I got a registered gun and I don’t go out and shoot just because I can."

LaShawnda Pratt's bandaged finger.

LaShawnda Pratt's bandaged finger.

Pratt said after the initial shock of what happened to her wore off, she thought of young Brendon Mackey's story.

The seven-year-old boy was killed after he was struck by celebratory gunfire on the Fourth of July in Chesterfield County in 2013.

Capt. Frank Carpenter tweeted Sunday evening warning folks about the dangers of celebratory gunfire.

One Richmond police officer on patrol tweeted a photo showing the number of calls coming in for random gunfire just after midnight on New Year’s.

Pratt, who is out of work and trying to heal, said she never imagined something like this would affect her family.

If you have information that could help detectives, Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000 or http://www.7801000.com.
You can also submit tips to GUN250 about persons illegally possessing guns by texting Crime Stoppers at 274637, then using keyword “GUN250” followed by your tip. Rewards up to $250. Both Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.