Deputies crack down on celebratory gunfire

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KING COUNTY, Wash. - King County deputies are joining other officers across the country urging people not to shoot off their guns on New Year’s Eve.

 

On Sunday, the King County Sheriff’s Office will sent out a release on celebratory gunfire.

 

“Any bullet fired from a gun must land somewhere and the risks of causing an injury or death is significant," said John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Office. 

 

KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Graham Johnson spoke with the department about joining the crackdown around the country.

 

Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office said deputies get complaint calls every year.

 

“We don’t want people shooting up in the air. When bullets go up, they have to land somewhere. Unfortunately, around the country we’re seeing they sometimes land on people,” West said. “That's exactly what we want to avoid is anyone getting struck by random gunfire this year.”

 

Louis Bridges told KIRO 7 that he already hears too much shooting in his South Seattle neighborhood.

 

“At least once a week, I hear somebody unloading a clip somewhere close enough to where I can hear it,” said Bridges.

 

The dangerous tradition is prompting warning from police agencies around the country.

 

Miami officials hold an annual news conference on the dangers of stray bullets. In Los Angeles, police warn of stiff penalties.

 

Three years ago in Atlanta, 4-year-old Marquel Peters sparked a movement. He was struck and killed by a bullet that came through the roof of a church he attended during a New Year’s Eve service.

 

The King County Sheriff’s Office said if deputies pinpoint a person shooting, the person will be charged with reckless endangerment.

 

A conviction on that charge is a year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

 

 

Urquhart’s bottom line on New Year’s Eve, “Don’t spend your last day of 2012 in jail.  Have fun but don’t risk lives.”