CLEVELAND -- With the approach of the New Year’s holiday, city officials in Cleveland have a warning for New Year’s Eve revelers. Safety Dir. Martin Flask said, “What goes up must come down.”
He’s referring to bullets, because each year at the stroke of midnight hundreds, even thousands of people in the city shoot guns into the sky, and those bullets then return to earth, striking both people and property.
“Each year we have tragedies across the country where people are injured, and in some cases lives are lost,” said Flask.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year dozens of people are hurt by stray bullets falling from the sky at a rate of about 200 feet per second.
Victims are most often hit in the head, shoulder or foot.
Although the trajectory and speed diminishes as it falls, it’s still capable of causing bodily injury and even death.
Over the years several young people have died.
In 2010, 4-year-old Marquel Peters was killed by a bullet on New Year’s Eve while he was sitting inside a Georgia church with his mom. The bullet pierced his small head.
Last year, a Florida boy, 12-year-old Diego Duran, almost died on his front yard when a bullet fell from the sky, striking him in the head.
Both boys’ families have been on a mission ever since those tragic events to stop people from participating in celebratory gunfire.
This year Cleveland is joining other cities in asking partiers to put their guns down.
“It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. It’s also stupid,” said Flask.
And you can be arrested.
The penalty for firing a firearm in the city is a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
However, Flask hopes people choose to put down their weapons, not because they will face criminal charges, but because it’s the right thing to do.
“The consequences, although it’s celebratory, the consequences can be tragic,” said Flask.
He says keep safety first in your sights this New Year’s and all year round. Instead, celebrate with your family and friends.