MIAMI (CBSMiami) — City of Miami officials want the public to know that it’s great to ring in the New Year with a celebration as long as it doesn’t involve gunfire.
On Thursday Mayor Tomas Regalado, joined by the city’s police chief and other city and county officials, took part in the Rickia Issac Foundation’s 14th annual “No More Stray Bullets” news conference in front of Martin Luther King Elementary in Liberty City where they implored the public to abandon the tradition of firing bullets into the air to celebrate at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Isaac, 3, was shot and killed by a stray bullet in 1997. Since then her uncle has been on a mission educate and stop people from firing guns.
“Celebratory gunfire is not the way to do it,” said Rev. Jerome Starling, “There are many other ways to celebrate.”
In years past, a number of people have been seriously wounded or killed by falling bullets on New Year’s Eve. Those tragic deaths and serious injuries which resulted from stray bullets motivated officials to launch the awareness campaign ‘Just Don’t Fire’, to remind the community that stray bullets can injure or kill innocent bystanders.
“This year it’s more important in light of what happened in Connecticut. You know when you have guns in the hands of people who can’t handle them, it’s horrible. So we are appealing to the people to don’t do it,” said Regalado.
Nearly every year, there are people who ignore the warnings and fire away and cause tragedies.
Just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2010, a 6-year-old Italian tourist was struck in the chest by a falling bullet shortly after midnight as he dined with his parents at a restaurant in Midtown.
An 11-year-old boy playing hide-and-seek behind a couch on Dec. 31, 2007, was struck and killed by five bullets after a man fired celebratory shots into the furniture.
Tragedy also struck in 2007 when one man was killed and four people were wounded, including a 10-year-old girl, as a result of New Year’s Eve gunfire.
If anyone hears gunfire or sees anything suspicious police want you to call them immediately.