Prayer Book Turns Aside Shooting-Spree Bullet

The first bullet fired in a shooting spree that killed five people in Montgomery County Wednesday and Thursday, narrowly missed Ann Chapman, who was working at Michaels arts and crafts store in Northgate Shopping Center.

It's a miracle no one was hurt after the bullet cut a dime-size hole in the display window, nicked a light fixture, pierced two posterboard signs and hit a metal rack holding rows of mini-books at 5:20 p.m. Wednesday.

But the amazing thing is what the bullet stopped next to, the store's employees said: a book called Inspiration for the Heart from the Prayer of Jabez, by Bruce Wilkinson.

The book flap says, "A simple daily prayer from the heart can inspire you to seek God's constant favor, power, and protection."

The bullet has not been recovered.

Chapman, 43, points above a display of autumn bouquets. The bullet hole is obvious.

The one-year Michael's employee was standing just a few feet from the window when she heard a loud bang.

"I had just gotten rid of a customer. I thought a light bulb blew up," Chapman said.

When she saw smoke, her next thought was that the computers had started malfunctioning. She never thought about a bullet until she saw the hole.

"Our first concern is for our associates and customers that are affected by this," Michaels corporate spokesman Tom Clary said. "We are shaken a little bit and we have some concern. We are doing everything we can."

Many of the Aspen Hill store's high school and part-time workers were shaken up by the incident and were allowed to take Thursday off, Clary said. For the most part, however, the store kept its normal routine.

"Right now we are trying to conduct business as usual," he said. "This appears to be ... a random firing into a store."

Michaels The Arts and Crafts Store is headquartered in Texas. It has about 600 stories in 48 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Capital News Service reporter Hattie Brown contributed to this report.