ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Along with the percussive blasts of fireworks exploding in the nighttime air over Orlando, 2016 was rung in by a voluminous amount of gunfire.
One of those celebratory shots hit a 9-year-old girl in the arm as she was leaving church, police said.
Investigators do not believe the girl was shot on purpose but was struck by a bullet fired to ring in the new year.
Churchgoers said they walked out of the building to see the girl’s father holding her in his arms, surrounded by crowds of people.
The incident happened outside Majestic Life Church on South Kirkman Road just after midnight, police said.
Investigators were not able to find the bullet and say they have little hope in identifying the shooter because so many people fired into the air at midnight.
The girl was treated at the scene by the Orlando Fire Department. Officials said she is now home and safe.
No other major New Year’s Eve-related incidents were reported overnight.
Law enforcement agencies across Central Florida remind the public every year to put away their guns while celebrating the new year.