PHILADELPHIA – A hospital patient was sitting up in bed when she was shot by a random bullet that pierced her window, authorities said.
The 62-year-old woman, who was in for a routine procedure, was described as being in good spirits and stable condition after surgery early Tuesday.
Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan is investigating if the bullet came from a crime-ridden area in Chester where gunfire was reported at about the same time Monday night. He said there is a straight path from the neighborhood to Crozer-Chester Medical Center, which is several blocks away in Upland.
The bullet struck the woman in the abdomen but missed her organs as it exited her body.
Bullets can travel for up to a mile before they lose their ability to penetrate glass and other objects, Whelan said. Detectives will therefore focus their probe on a one-mile perimeter of the hospital, he said.
"It's hard to believe that that could happen inside a hospital, ... but I believe the hospital is safe," Whelan said.
The shooting occurred between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, about the time 911 operators received several calls about gunfire in the Crosby Square area of Chester, just outside Philadelphia. However, Whelan said those calls are not unusual.
The bullet pierced the double-pane window and flew past an empty bed in the first-floor room to the patient, who was awake, authorities said.
"She heard a pop and then felt a burning sensation," Whelan said. "She touched her side, noticed blood and immediately called (for help)."
The woman was operated on immediately, he said.
Police had no suspects in the shooting.