HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities say a woman ringing in the new year was fatally shot by a stray bullet outside her Houston home.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said 61-year-old Philippa Ashford died after being shot at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The sheriff’s department said it appears she may have been struck by celebratory gunfire from outside her immediate neighborhood.
The sheriff’s office said her family and their neighbors were discharging fireworks in their cul-de-sac when she called out that she had been shot. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“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,” Sgt. Ben Beall, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, told the Houston Chronicle.
Her body has been sent for an autopsy and the sheriff’s department is asking anyone with information regarding her death to call them.
KPRC is reporting Ashford was a nurse at the Menninger Clinic for more than 12 years and was an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.
The newspaper reports that Houston police and Harris County deputies issued public alerts on New Year’s Eve warning the public not to discharge their weapons while celebrating.