WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Nearly 2,700 miles away from West Palm Beach's Fourth of July fireworks display, Tania White received word that her mother, Ulla, was in trouble.
"When I heard the word bullet unexpectedly, I think my jaw dropped to the floor," said Tania.
Investigators say a bullet shot into the air on the night of July 4, eventually came down and hit Ulla, 64, while she was standing on the top deck of an Intracoastal fireworks cruise.
"You didn't put yourself in that risk," said Tania. "You're not going out and doing things that are dangerous. You're sitting on a boat have on a boat, having a good time watching fireworks."
Tania flew from Los Angeles on Thursday night to rush to her mother's bedside at St. Mary's Medical Center. Ulla had already had surgery. Doctors told Tania that the bullet had grazed her mother's heart and lung.
"She definitely realizes she could have died," said Tania. "She definitely realizes that."
Ulla was on the Majestic Princess II with friends on Wednesday evening. That same group of friends gathered on Friday night for a sea turtle walk from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. The event had been organized by Ulla, who insisted it should not be canceled because she was hospitalized.
"Because she's doing so well, we needed to pull through and we needed to do this for her," said friend Pamela Gray.
With the relief that her mother survived, comes questions and frustrations about where that random gunshot may have come from.
"Do they have any idea that they could have done harm?," asked Tania. "I doubt they were even thinking about that." Tania says anger is not among the many emotions she is feeling. "Angry is not how I feel," she said. "I just feel bad for her and I do think that people need to take owning a gun more seriously."
Tania said her mother was expected to come out of the intensive care unit at St. Mary's Medical Center as early as Friday night. Ulla will, however, remain hospitalized for quite some time as she recovers.
West Palm Beach police say it is very difficult to find out where gunshots like this come from. A number of 'celebratory gunfire' incidents were reported on the night of July 4. Police say the shots resulted in several injuries. None were considered life-threatening.