Northeast Ohio police warn against celebratory gunfire this holiday weekend

19 investigates data shows celebratory gunfire can be more deadly than regular gunfire.
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:08 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - We’ve heard the warnings time and time again. Don’t shoot a gun in the air for fun.

19 investigates has found data that shows why - celebratory gunfire can be far more deadly if someone gets hit than a typical shooting.

Over the years we’ve covered cases of celebratory gunfire caught on camera.

The bullets fall where they may, damaging property and hurting people.

In 2020, Erika Miranda died after her boyfriend fired a celebratory shot in Cleveland.

Cleveland Police said the consequences of celebrating with a gun can be devastating in any area, but especially in a densely populated area like Cleveland.

“What goes up must come down. When a firearm is discharged, the bullet will travel a path until it strikes someone or something,” Cleveland authorities stated. “The consequences and risks of celebratory gunfire and fireworks can be significant and serious. Innocent people are injured or killed.”

Data from a tech company called Spotshotter shows those hit like Miranda was, by a falling bullet, had a much higher chance of dying than a typical shooting.

Generally, between two and six percent of people who come to the hospital with a gunshot wound die.

The death rate for those struck by falling bullets was close to one third.

Spotshotter’s tip sheet debunking gunfire myths says, “The reason is simple – those unlucky enough to be hit by falling shells were more likely to be struck on the head, and while the bullets were travelling slower after being shot into the sky, they were still capable of smashing skulls.”

Gunfire in general continues to be an unsettling issue even leading up to the holiday.

This week alone, Monday through Thursday, data shows Cleveland Police received 74 calls for “shots fired.”

Even if someone else doesn’t get hurt, you can put yourself at risk by firing a weapon.

This past new year’s eve, police shot and killed a Canton father who was firing rounds in his backyard.

Celebratory gunfire is illegal in Ohio. Those found guilty of it, even if bullets don’t hurt someone, can face jail time and a big fine.

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