By Peter D'Oench

MIAMI  (CBS4)—A stray bullet fired into the air just after midnight struck a man who was celebrating at a New Years Eve party, according to Miami Police. It could have been tragic.

Fortunately, the bullet grazed the unidentified man’s upper left shoulder. Miami Firefighter-paramedics treated him outside the home at Northwest 25th Avenue and Northwest 32nd Street.

Lt. Ignatius Carroll, Jr., of Miami Fire Rescue, told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the victim was not transported to a hospital.

Miami Police Detective Willie Moreno confirmed that the victim was struck by a stray bullet and said there was another report of a person possibly being struck by a stray bullet on New Years Eve at Northwest 2nd Avenue and 71st Street. But that report has not been confirmed.

Homeowner Randy Ruiz told D’Oench the victim was a “friend of a friend” who was visiting his home on New Years Eve.

“We had a lot of friends and family in my yard and fireworks were being fired off,” he said. “Just after midnight, one of the guests complained of blood on his shirt. So we quickly ran over to see what was going on and saw there was blood on his left arm.”

“He took off his shirt and we saw a bruise,” he said. “He was grazed. This celebration could have turned into tragedy. There could have been kids around who were hit. Thank God they were not.”

Nearby, neighbor Barbara Jimeno, who has three grandchildren between the ages of one and four, said she was alarmed by the latest incident.

“I have heard a lot of shootings and I know which ones were firecrackers and which ones weren’t,” she told D’Oench. “And I think someone was shooting bullets. I was really afraid of that. I’m very worried because I don’t even want them getting in windows. Those are stray bullets. You have to be careful.”

“It could happen to me or my grandchildren, who live around the block,” Jimeno said.

Lt. Carroll said he too was concerned.

“Every year we warn people not to shoot into the air,” he said. “Yet there are still people doing it. I don’t know why people get so excited shooting in to the air. We are lucky this guy did not sustain a very serious injury. A bullet very clearly could have landed on his head and this could have been a lot worse than it was.”

The incident followed a series of warnings last week and this week from the Mayor of Miami, Miami Police and activists about firing bullets into the air on New Years Eve.

It is illegal to fire your weapon into the air.

If you see anyone doing that, you should contact your local police department or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471—tips (8477) or Broward Crimestoppers if the incident happens in Broward. That number is (954) 493—tips (8477).

Crimestoppers will pass along the information you provide to the appropriate police agencies. As a caller, you will remain anonymous.


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