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01/04/2010 07:58 AM ID: 82312 Permalink   

New Year´s Eve: Bullet Fired Into Air Falls Through Church Roof, Kills Child


Georgia: 4-year-old Marquel Peters has died after a bullet apparently fell through a church roof and hit him in the head. Marquel, who had been playing his Nintendo, screamed and collapsed at his parents' feet with blood pouring from his head.

No arrests have been made to date but police are reportedly 'actively pursuing leads'. According to Kelly Fite, a ballistics expert, the bullet probably came from an AK-47 that could have been 3-5 kilometres away when it was fired.

"It's one of those things that you just cannot make any sense out of. This lady took her kid to church, which is the right thing to do. And her son got killed because of someone’s irresponsible behaviour," said church pastor Lloyd Phipps.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
inb4 shitstorm
  by: ronny_cordova   01/04/2010 10:34 AM     
Well I guess God smote him good
  by: thorsblood   01/04/2010 10:37 AM     
In a serious comment though the concept of someone firing a bullet 3 miles away and having it come through a roof and into someone´s skull seems a bit sketchy. Even at terminal velocity the average 7.62 bullet is only going to hit the roof with about 560 joules of kinetic energy. I don´t see how that is going to be enough to go through shingles, backing, plywood, and drywall or some other roofing material and still have enough energy to hit this kid in the head.

I´d also like to know how they assume it was an "AK-47" that fired the round as well. Despite the numerous amounts of guns that use 7.62x39mm it seems they just would rather say it came from an AK-47 since already too many people associate them with killing people. Had they said it came from an SKS no big deal. Someone says AK-47 and the first thing that pops into people´s heads is some guy recklessly shooting a full-auto machine gun into the air.
  by: ronny_cordova   01/04/2010 10:54 AM     
The source is a bit sketchy on details. I´m guessing when they say falling they they mean the bullet had reached its apex and was on its way back down. It could be falling but still have a hell of a lot of forward momentum.

I have very little knowledge on the physics of firearm ballistics so can´t comment on the range. The only thing I can think of in terms of weapon identification is they got actually did get a hit off the bullet. Other than that it´s an (educated?) guess as far as I can see.

The other thing to remember is a four-year-old´s skull still isn´t fused and probably doesn´t have a lot of stopping power.
  by: ixuzus     01/04/2010 11:25 AM     
ronny-I was wondering that also and then I thought maybe they found it matches a weapon used somewhere else and it is in the database. The distance they are trying to say must be where there is some ghetto project because you know it was either a redneck or a thug.

This is one of the reasons why I am against the fireworks bans that some states have. Let the people set off fireworks on New Years Eve and hopefully it will cut down most of the idiots that shoot off their weapons in the air like they are from the Wild Fricking West. Enough mom and dads have lost their babies to this shit. This wee one was 4 people! 96 damn months, that is NOTHING in life.

As for pastor Lloyd he can kiss my white wiggly bottom! Obviously he was NOT in the safest place or where he was supposed to be you moron, he DIED THERE so it would be better if he was at HOME SAFE.

"This lady took her kid to church, which is the right thing to do."

Epic FAIL! Anyone who would fault the mom needs a heart, but as for that pastor he is an idiot.
  by: TaraB     01/04/2010 11:30 AM     
  I seem to remember  
that the Mythbusters dispelled this myth. Even if they didn´t, the fact that this bullet came through a roof should have decreased the bullets velocity to make it non-lethal. As for identifying the round as coming from an AK-47, a lot of non-AK rifles fire the 7.62x39 round. It sounds to me that this is more propaganda than fact.
  by: walter3ca   01/04/2010 11:42 AM     
  damn church  
"This lady took her kid to church, which is the right thing to do."

right thing to do my ass !
only if you are a religious fanatic

no one go to church anymore
except maybe in some retarded states of usa
  by: sergelac2   01/04/2010 12:51 PM     
  @Mythbusters posters  
I think the Myth they busted is straight up and down. There are many recorded incidents of fatalities as a result of stray gunshots into the air.

Also, don´t forget this was a 4 year old´s head.
  by: edya   01/04/2010 01:33 PM     
  New Year´s Madness  
My neighborhood sounds like the Vietnamese Tet offensive on New Years Eve. I´ve found bullets laying on my roof before. Idiotic brain-dead gun worshipers fire into the air with no thought or regard for the safety of others. The police urged people to not do this this year, but they did it anyway. It´s impossible for law enforcement to stop this. They can´t police ignorance and stupidity. That´s why there are so many murders. These people have absolutely no respect for human life or property.
  by: Lurker     01/04/2010 03:19 PM     
From how far is an assumption not fact. Roofs are not all, or their entirety made of chinglesand woods. They also have openings for Sunlight, which is made of Glass. How thick? will wait for further upgdate of the news. AK-47, is also an assumption, not fact.

Lets discredit again, using other scientific methods.
  by: skcusswentrohs     01/04/2010 03:37 PM     
Are you people crazy?!

You´re actually disputing the fact that a bullet couldnt go through a church roof and kill a 4 year boy (whose skull is quite fragile still)?!?!


Get a small coin (dime) and drop it from the tall building, dont throw, just drop and it´ll STILL go right through a cars windscreen, EASY. (I´ve seen it).

And you´re disputing an AK-47 / another rifle being shot into the air and thus the bullet dropping back down from great height wouldnt have enough enegry to do any damage, and certainly not enough to go through a churhs roof (most likely glass) and kill a 4 year old boy?!?!

You people are clueless, which is strange considering most of you are americans and thus have great deal of experience / knowledge with weapons in general.

I´m stunned... truely am.

clearly you never seen anything (even a tiny tiny stone) being dropped from a great height.
  by: M4CRO_   01/04/2010 04:16 PM     
This story makes my heart ache :( His poor parents.
  by: deadvenusblue     01/04/2010 04:37 PM     
  @M4CrO & others  
M4cro: The terminal velocity of a dime is about 24mph. It doesn´t matter if you drop it out of your pocket or off the top of the Burj Dubai, it isn´t going any faster.
  by: erasedgod   01/04/2010 04:55 PM     
  er... now for the @others part  
I imagine, since the bullet likely would´ve reached terminal velocity, that it wasn´t fired straight up. It could´ve been fired at a low angle (like a thrown football) from a distance, hit the church, and ricocheted down. Either way, it´s a horrible story. I hope, somehow, they find the person responsible.

@lurker: People really do that crap (standing around firing guns into the air)? I thought it was just something in movies.
  by: erasedgod   01/04/2010 05:02 PM     
  all over the spectrum  
Lurker I was going to say during New Year and the 4th of July my hood is lighting up and shooting off. I admit I worry that a stray bullet might come through the house. The police try to get more officers on shift but between the smoke, snow(if any) and noice of the downtown fireworks being let off it is a hard task.

"You people are clueless, which is strange considering most of you are americans and thus have great deal of experience / knowledge with weapons in general."

That is funny, so you think that playing an X-Box and handing young thugs a blank check and a get out of Jail free card when they commit any crime is better than an assumption you have about Americans? Hell there are many Americans that have never owned, shot or even saw a real weapon up close. Keep the TV clips about everyone having a gun rolling and get the newest FPS and you will shortly unlock the secret cheat code to what Americans really do or don´t do.

erased- Yes people really do that and like I mentioned there are a few times of the year it is the most noticable. I really wish I had a safe room to put the girls in during those nights because I actually do fear that a bullet will come through my walls. The ones you mentioned being at the low to mid-level angle are the exact ones that I brace myself for hearing and hoping if it goes through a house let it be one of the empty foreclosures so no one is hurt.

I can´t even imagine what his mother is going through.
  by: TaraB     01/04/2010 05:18 PM     
Whether or not this story is completely true, I´ve also seen an air rifle break a car´s windshield - and that´s a BB moving around 700fps. I´ve also been shot with that same BB gun in the leg and was left with only a red mark - it didn´t even break the skin. So a coin breaking a windshield doesn´t prove this story.
  by: barryman9001   01/04/2010 06:46 PM     
Terminal velocity of a bullet can reach up to 300 mph. Definitely enough to go through a church roof and kill a young child. Stop with your random conspiracy theories.


There are plenty more. Just google it...
  by: Anost1   01/04/2010 07:17 PM     
The myth was a bullet straight up into the air. They figured out that it can´t drop with lethal force straight up and down.

However, bullets fired over an angle arch and maintain their speeds and trajectories can kill people. They investigated someone who got shot by a bullet shot over a mile away. It happens. This story goes with that.
  by: jonnysodoff   01/04/2010 10:03 PM     
Also, what´s not lethal to an adult may be a very different story for a 4 year old boy.
  by: Anost1   01/04/2010 10:22 PM     
The terminal velocity of a 8g 7.62x39mm bullet is 29.9 mph. Some bullets may have a higher terminal velocity (like the 300 mph number from your source), but not all. 8g at 30 mph isn´t enough weight to do any real damage; especially after hitting the roof of a building. Given all that, my guess is the bullet was fired at a low angle (like I said before). Most of the physics in this story are suspect to me though.
  by: erasedgod   01/05/2010 12:22 AM     

lets look at the energy gained and lost per distance fallen. The bullet will gain energy +E=d*g*m, and lose energy -E=d*Cd*p*v^2*A/2

d=distance fallen
m=mass of bullet
Cd=drag coefficient
p=density of air
v=velocity while falling
A=frontal area (from which Cd is generated)

Setting -E=+E, and solving for v, we find that v=((2*g*m)/(Cd*A*p))^1/2.
Cd at transonic speeds is about 0.45 for a bullet with an A of 5.8x10^-5 m^2 (a 7.62mm rifle bullet, AK-47). p at sea level is about 1.275 kg/m^3. m for a 7.62 mm bullet is about 0.01 kg. The terminal velocity calculated by this equation is about 76 m/s, well below transonic speed. Using the subsonic drag coefficient of 0.3, we get a terminal velocity of 94 m/s. So the bullet would come down at nowhere close to transonic speed. Nevertheless, a bullet hitting you at 94 m/s has a kinetic energy of 88 Joules, spread over a small area. It won´t hurt as much as a regular bullet shot, but it will still hurt you. I´d wear a helmet if I were firing bullets in the air - people die all the time from "celebratory firing".

92 m/s is around 205 mph. Can you tell me where you´re getting this 30 mph number from please?
  by: Anost1   01/05/2010 06:20 AM     
  its happened before  
I remember a long time ago on an unsolved mysteries episode there was one about the same thing.

I guess God doesn´t like kids playing Nintendo in Church. (jk)
  by: shaohu     01/05/2010 09:11 AM     
While my 30mph was way off, I don´t think your numbers are accurate either. It´s late and I don´t really have time to address it in detail. I did punch a bunch of numbers into WolframAlpha though.

Given a fall height of a mile, a mass of 8 grams, a frontal area of .00049 m^2, your air density at sea level (which would actually be lower at Decatur´s 318 m), and a drag coefficient of .3, terminal velocity is only 30.52 m/s (or 67.27 mph). That gives a kinetic energy of about 3.726 joules. This is hardly enough energy to penetrate a roof and a child´s skull. All of this is moot though, because (and I think we all agree) the bullet obviously didn´t come straight down.

Here´s a link to the site I used for calculations, with values filled in:

  by: erasedgod   01/05/2010 10:15 AM     
  All about ballistic trajectory.  
If a bullet is fired straight up in the air it will come down at ´terminal velocity´. This velocity is not high enough to do damage. Sure it may sting, but it wont kill anyone. It will NOT go through a building´s roof unelss it´s made out of Kleenex.

A bullet fired at a ballistic trajectory (ie. like a missile) will have a much higher velocity than free falling bullet at terminal velocity. I know most people find this idea confusing, but objects are equally affected by gravity and their individual aerodynamic properties. It doesn´t matter if it´s a bowling ball, feather or a bullet.

I will say this argument is pointless. Obviously a little boy is dead. There is no conspiracy theory. The article is probably bs when it comes to knowing it´s an AK and knowing how it was fired. Matching a known gun is possible, but in real life bullets get mangled. It´s hard to get something usable when you´re not an actor on CSI. Same goes for finger prints, dna, etc..

Here is what you should take away from this story:

Some idiot decided to fire his gun. A bullet from some sort of rifle fired by the idiot carried a ballistic trajectory (did not go straight up). A little boy is dead, which sucks. End of story.
  by: d-man   01/05/2010 11:02 AM     
  How many movies have you seen where  
someone throws a handful of cartridges into a fire and they immediately cook off with several people being injured of killed as a result?
It doesn´t happen. These are not artillery rounds loaded with explosive material.

A local firearms dealer/safety instructor gave this demonstration.
He used a large cardboard box. Placed in the bottom were several firebricks.
A can of Sterno was placed on a brick and, one by one, several calibers of cartridges and shotgun shells were suspended in the flame, held by a wire, and allowed to cook off.

All of them cooked off but not one of them had enough force to penetrate the cardboard box.

I believe the bullet that killed this child was fired from a much closer distance to the church and penetrated the building while it still had considerable kinetic force remaining. Then a strike by a ricochet would have the possibility of being lethal.

A bullet falling straight down is spent and only has gravity acting on it. I seriously doubt it would penetrate much of anything thicker than tissue paper.
  by: White Albino   01/05/2010 12:52 PM     
  Where Was God?  
To protect them?
  by: vex   01/05/2010 06:42 PM     
  Why not be skeptical?  
One newspaper can confabulate a story and others can replicate it. It´s not as if we have a dozen experts on the scene, or a large amount of reliable sources to back it up. We just have a story-- and a sketchy one at that.

If the story seems unusual or doesn´t line up with the data, clearly something isn´t being said or we´re not being told.

One thing that always gets me... I haven´t seen any law prohibiting hunting squirrels from tree´s in state parks with a .22 that are nearby to residents and businesses. Anyone care to clear that one up for me? Seems dangerous, but I´m fairly certain there is minimal danger because wind resistance will quickly dissipate the energy.
  by: luc1ddr3am     01/05/2010 08:15 PM     
Depends on which state you are in; some states prohibit any hunting at all in parks, some allow limited hunting, and I think some allow hunting during certain seasons.

A .22 bullet has a maximum range of about a mile. It´s a very light bullet and even if arced in has such little mass that at that range, you´d only annoy whatever you hit. Add to that you´re firing into brush, branches, leaves, etc and the bullet is pretty likely to break up harmlessly.
  by: cranky_paranoid     01/06/2010 06:50 PM     
  bullet on the street in Philadelphia  
I found a 9mm bullet on the street in Philly on 1/1. I know what caliber it was from the military. The bullet was deformed in that the larger area had been smashed slightly from the force encountered on deceleration into the pavement. If it had sufficient force to deform it probably would impact like being hit with a hard stick or bat ... but the elasticity of the human body would have distributed some of the force as well and I therefore tend to believe in the theory that a ricochet rather than falling bullet.
  by: bikermagi2   01/06/2010 07:49 PM     
  Having A Hard Time Believing This One  
Considering the loss of energy from the distance and from penetrating the roof. It sounds far fetched.
  by: ichi     01/07/2010 12:17 AM     
  @White Albino  
Your local "expert" is an idiot. For the past 7 years I have been digging bullets out of the ground in Korea. On a number of occasions I have found casings buried with the bullets usually about three feet away - fired by the heat of the sun - through a couple inches (deep) X the length of 3 feet of dirt. I think that energy would easily put a hole in a cardboard box!

All of my sun-fired bullets have been 7.62 and unlike the round tip of most ´city´ bullets (.22, .38, .45 etc), a 7.62 has a pretty decent point which can easily pierce a skull - even at low velocity.
Source article didn´t state what size bullet did the damage.

I feel sad for the little boy and his parents.
  by: womenareviolent     01/07/2010 05:56 PM     
Gil Grissom??

I thought you´d gone studying bugs!
  by: dook   01/08/2010 03:29 AM     
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