HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A New Kent rideshare worker said celebratory gunfire nearly struck him in the head while driving New Year's Eve.
“I went to go pick up the passenger and I heard a bang and I went to open the top of the sunroof and I realized glass was coming in the car," Justin Tate said. "At that point I didn’t know what had happened but I was pretty sure a bullet had come through the sunroof.”
Tate said just before midnight, he was headed east on Interstate 64 near Nine Mile Road when a bullet went through his sunroof.
“It was a very loud bang and glass breaking and I ducked and looked around to make sure someone wasn’t shooting at me cause I didn’t know,” explained Tate. “Once I realized that glass was in my center console I knew immediately because I kind of pulled the visor open and I saw that the sunroof had got blown out I immediately called the police.”
“I told the dispatcher look I’m going down 64 and a bullet just came in my car,” said Tate. “He asked me to stay on the side of the highway. I was like no I kept going because when I rolled my window down I heard more gunfire and I know I had burned up all my luck with that first bullet. I wasn’t taking any chances.”
Tate said, Henrico County Police met him at the Wawa gas station off Airport Drive.
“We were actually standing in the middle of the gas station parking lot and he said lets get under this overhang because it actually sounds like a war zone out here here he was concerned about more bullets coming down on us while we were standing there filing the police report,” said Tate.
Tate said investigators recovered a bullet from his sunroof.
“He said inches would have been life or death for me,” said Tate. “One officer even wanted to give me a hug and the other officer wanted me to go play the lottery cause he thought I was the luckiest man in the world to be here standing with him.”
“After I realized where the bullet hit on my car it was very alarming to me very emotional and it brought a lot of things to light like how quickly things can be taken away from you,” Tate explained.
Tate said he feels lucky to be alive and fortunate he was able to return home to his wife and four-year-old daughter. He hopes by sharing his story, others will think twice about firing their weapons irresponsibly.
“Don’t go firing guns into the air cause I have a family at home I almost didn’t come home last night,” Tate said.
“When I got home I wanted to come back and hug everyone,” Tate said. “I was very thankful to be here because it was a very scary moment. First thing I did when I came in the back door was check on everyone and thank the Lord that I’m still here to share moments with them today.”