BATON ROUGE – Fireworks, firecrackers and guns are all things that people shoot off on New Year’s Eve. But one of them is much more dangerous than the others.
“You have no control over that bullet once you pull that trigger so it could be a life, it could be a severe injury, it could be property damage,” BRPD Sgt. Don Coppola said.
Some people celebrate each new year by firing their guns into the air, and experts say those bullets can reach speeds of up to 200 mph when they fall back down to Earth.
The celebration has already turned deadly on previous occasions.
In 1994, tourist Amy Silberman was struck and killed by a falling bullet in the French Quarter. In 2006, another man was paralyzed on New Year’s Eve.
Here in Baton Rouge, 8-year-old Sean Pfister was killed after a bullet went through his head in 2001.
“All of this is avoidable. Just don’t fire your weapon into the air at midnight to celebrate New Years,” Coppola said.
Not only is it dangerous, it’s illegal.
“We’re going to have extra patrols out. You’re going to see more police than normal.”
Coppola says officers get dispatched to dozens of shots fired calls on nights like these. Sometimes they turn out to be people shooting fireworks, but quite often it’s bullets.