West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach Woman Remembers Fifth Anniversary of Being Shot on Independence Day

Celebrating Independence Day comes with mixed feelings for Ulla White. While enjoying a fireworks display aboard a boat on the intracoastal in West Palm Beach five years ago, a bullet hit White in the chest - the shot likely a result of celebratory gunfire.

"The fireworks show had just ended, I reached for my water and felt something hit my chest. There was a little blood, but I didn't realize what happened," White recalls from the moment she was shot.

The bullet grazed her heart and hit a lung, causing it to collapse, making it very hard for her to breathe. A friend called 911, and within an hour she was at St. Mary's Hospital, where an x-ray confirmed there was a bullet in her chest.

Doctors had to cut her open to get the bullet out, but miraculously, after a week in the ICU, she went home to Palm Beach Gardens to recover. It wasn't easy, she endured two years of physical therapy, medication and doctors closely monitoring her heart. But she's made a full recovery, doing even better than doctors predicted.

One thing has changed, she's uncomfortable around fireworks and loud noises.

"I get scared hearing fireworks or gunshots in a movie now. So I'll go to a BBQ to enjoy the July 4th holiday today, but I'll watch the fireworks on TV," says White.

Palm Beach Police were never able to track the bullet to the person who pulled the trigger that hit Ulla, she says detectives called finding them a 'needle in a haystack'. They gave her the bullet last year, it's something she keeps as a token of what she survived.

She's not concerned with someone being held accountable for her injury, she just wants to spread the message that celebratory gunfire has consequences. She hopes after hearing her story, people have second thoughts about firing into the air on a holiday.

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