Someone has done the math on your question and concludes:
"So, instead of the bullet returning to the shooter at 900 m/s, the
velocity is significantly less, but still pretty damaging for such a
speed. Of course, it would be fatal if it struck in a vital area of the
body like the head or chest. I have assumed that since the bullet was
fired upwards, the impact coming back down would most likely be to the
To summarize, the unfortunate result of this story is that the bullet
leaves the muzzle at 900 m/s travels upwards, stops, and comes back
towards the shooter and impacts at 40.79 m/s. Definitely a bad thing if
you ask me."
Read all of his/her post at MadSci:
Based on that answer, I looked for evidence...
"A bullet fired in the air during a Ku Klux Klan initiation ceremony
came down and struck a participant in the head, critically injuring
him, authorities said.
...A bullet struck Murr on the top of the head and exited at the
bottom of his skull, authorities said."
"At least 10 people were killed as the Philippines rang in the New
Year, with a grenade attack and celebratory gunfire blamed. More than
400 were injured by fireworks... Seventeen people were injured by
"At six past midnight we were dispatched to a gunshot wound to a
woman's leg. The bullet had come through the roof of her home and hit
her in the leg while she was watching television. The wound appeared
to have been in the .22 to .25 caliber range. "
The question was also asked and answered at the following sites:
Ask a Scientist
San Diego Union-Tribune
Search terms used:
science bullet "in the air" "back down"
died bullet "fired in the air" "back down"