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.READ MORE: 3 Children Injured In NW Miami-Dade Crash
On Wednesday, the city’s police department joined forces with the Rickia Issac Foundation for the 17th annual “No More Stray Bullets” campaign which urges residents and visitors alike 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.
“She’d be around 22 or 23 years old. Maybe she’d be graduating from college, maybe she’d be getting married,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert.
“Every stray bullet has a destination. The destination might not have been intended to hurt, injure or maim the Rickia Isaacs of the world but as many said before me, they have no eyes,” said Miami-Dade School Board member Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindigall.
Since Issac’s death her uncle, Rev. Jerome Starling, has been on a mission educate and stop people from firing guns.
“Just don’t fire. Save a life, just don’t shoot. Save a life today,” said Starling.
“What goes up, comes down. The laws of physics say it comes down even faster,” said Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Ian Moffett.READ MORE: Miami-Dade Residents Gather To Protest Closure Of Matheson Hammock Park's West Entrance
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa warned that anyone caught firing off a few rounds could end up spending the New Year in the slammer.
“We’re going to have many, many more officers on duty than any usual night,” said Orosa. “If you get caught firing up into the air, celebratory or otherwise you’re going to get arrested.”
Nearly every year, there are people who ignore the warnings and fire away and cause tragedies.
Just after midnight on January 1st, 2010, a 6-year-old Italian tourist was struck in the chest by a falling bullet as he dined with his parents at a restaurant in Midtown.
An 11-year-old boy playing hide-and-seek behind a couch on December 31st, 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.
Firing a weapon into the air is not only dangerous but illegal. It is a first degree misdemeanor. But it can also mean a variety of charges, depending upon what the arresting officer decides at the time and what happens, according to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.MORE NEWS: RNC Donors Gather To Hear Trump, Others In Palm Beach, The GOP's 'New Political Power Center'
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