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Woman Shot in Leg. Doesn’t Realize it for 5 Days.

Woman shot in leg. Doesn't realize for 5 days.

A woman in Florida was shot in the leg with a 38 caliber handgun round. It seems the bullet was fired into the air during 4th of July celebrations. Obviously this is a bad idea. Even a “puny” weapon can launch a bullet surprisingly far. So…if by some chance you know someone who hasn’t gotten the memo, don’t do that! But that’s not why I decided to post this story.


To many people today are conditioned by the media and Hollywood to expect certain things. One of the most common is the “one stop shot” or as a thug so eloquently put it to me on the streets some years ago, “Da bullet goes whack and it all goes black”.

Bullet Would Leg.
Bullet Would Leg.


While even The Bard himself might find humor and wit in those words, the reality is usually very different. Especially with handgun rounds. Civilians get wrapped around the axel concerning handguns. To many, the handgun is the Hammer of Thor. But on the street, it is VERY common for people to be shot and actually not know it or accept it. Much like the lady cited in this news story.


I’ve seen and heard it all. Another street philosopher who was in a huge fist fight. One guy from the other team steps back from the melee and opens fire. The victim in this case actually recalled feeling an impact to his high chest, but the sensation was so minimal he wondered why “Holmes was shooting a BB gun?” He collapsed 5 minutes later and almost died in the OR.


In another case I am personally aware of, a case that involved an inside-job-robbery, the victim was shot point blank in the back  of the skull with a 38 caliber revolver. The victim was grievously injured (later needing physical therapy) but at the time of the shot, he thought he had been sucker-punched or hit with a bat. For many, many minutes he wasn’t aware he had been shot point blank in the melon! When authorities arrived, he was walking around.


Think about that for a minute. How can that be? Was it simply a lack of experience in getting shot? Was it emotional immaturity in accepting the realities that it could happen to them? And if there are people without any training or skill or experience in war or conflict who can carry on after being shot? How might that knowledge help the warfighter or armed citizen in mentally dealing with getting shot?


It's Only A Flesh Wound -- Monty Python
It’s Only A Flesh Wound — Monty Python


Too many well intentioned people who think of themselves as “warriors” or “sheep dogs” never go there. When they train, everything is perfect. When they drill, the bad guys usually have parity. When they read stories about engagements starting with the good guy getting shot, or stabbed, or pummeled by 10 people they will whistle past the graveyard and drop the phrase “situational awareness”.


Which is another way of saying, “That will never happen to me. I’m too smart. Too cool. Too trained. Too tactical to allow myself to get “caught” like that. But here’s the problem. Most predators strike when they are strong and you are weak. The shark that bites you is the one you didn’t see coming. Not the one circling around you in the clear blue.




So…when you hear about strange cases where people are injured and yet continue to function at a relatively high level, don’t dismiss them out of hand. Could you take a 38 to the thigh and still keep your wits? Or to the chest? Or to the back of the head? At point blank range?


What if it doesn’t all turn black?




“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”







DELAND — A DeLand woman celebrating Independence Day on the patio of a downtown bar was shot in the leg but did not know it until doctors found the bullet days later.
The incident has police trying the figure out where the bullet came from and the owner of Cafe Da Vinci, Dan Reed, said he believes someone was firing a gun as part of Independence Day and the bullet fell from the sky.

Heather Charlebois, 42, said Thursday she felt the sting as she sat at a table in the patio of the bar at 112 W. Georgia Ave. at 10:35 p.m. July 4 and thought it was a firecracker because the wound did not bleed.

“My first thought was somebody hit me, slapped me open handed really hard on my leg and pinched me, but it did not make any sense because I didn’t see anyone,” Charlebois said.”They told me at the hospital they think it’s a .38-caliber bullet lodged 4 centimeters inside my leg.”

DeLand police said that five days later incident, Charlebois went to a hospital.

“Days later Ms. Charlebois sought medical attention for the injury and it was discovered there was bullet in her leg,” said DeLand police Sgt. Chris Estes said.

“Well, it’s safe to say that at the moment we don’t know where it came from,” Estes said. “There is no indication a gun was fired in close proximity to where she was sitting at this point so, another theory is that it was fired into the air from a distance.”

Estes said investigators are hoping someone will come forward with some helpful information and so police can answer the unknowns about the incident.

Anyone who may have seen or heard anything that could be related to this incident is asked to contact Detective Chris Jusick at 386-626-7424 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-277-(TIPS) 8477. Callers may remain anonymous, Estes said.

Charlebois said that after she felt the painful blow to her leg, she and her boyfriend went into the bathroom of the bar to check on it. There was not a lot of blood, just some fluids draining from the puncture.

“That’s what made me think it was a firecracker,” Charlebois said. “I never once thought it was a bullet.”

Charlebois said she left the DeLand bar after the pain became more intense and went home where she cleaned and bandaged the wound. The next day she went to work but her inner right thigh kept hurting.

The mother of four children said being shot never crossed her mind since firecrackers were being set off everywhere. With noise of the band and people at the bar, no one heard gunfire.

“I don’t recall hearing a gunshot,” Charlebois said. “The sound that we actually heard I guess was the penetration of the bullet going through my jeans and into my leg.”

As the days passed, the injury on her leg did not get better and the pain was even more intense. Her friends who saw the wound kept telling her it looked like a bullet wound since there were no burn marks that might be left behind by a firecracker. She called her sister, who took her to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City on Thursday.

Reed believes an irresponsible person in possession of a gun was shooting into the sky.

“She goes to the hospital and the X-ray shows there is a bullet in her leg,” Reed said. “The bullet fell down straight from the sky and hit in the leg as she sat at one of the tables.”

In an X-ray, doctors discovered the bullet in her right thigh is near a major artery and advised against surgery. Charlebois said she worries about the lead in the bullet and fears the slug could move.

“They are worried about going in and getting the bullet out because it is so close to the artery and they don’t want to do any more damage,” Charlebois said. “They felt it’s better to leave it in.”

An emotional Charlebois said she feels lucky to be alive.

“I feel very fortunate,” Charlebois said, her voice breaking. “I have four kids and we have been through a lot.”

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