Deputies cracking down on NYE celebratory gunfire

New Year's Eve is a time for celebrating, but the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has a warning: One type of celebration will not be tolerated heading into 2017.

According to deputies, celebratory gunfire is a reoccurring problem across the area on holidays. At the start of 2016, HCSO had reports of 39 gunshot incidents.

New Year's Eve and July 4 are typically the worst days for people to randomly fire their guns into the air.

According to gun experts at Shooter's World in Tampa, falling bullets can hit buildings, vehicles, and in the worst case scenario, people.

"When a bullet leaves a firearm, it can travel two to five miles," said Bruce Kitzis, the general manger at Shooter's World, "and that bullet is coming back down. That's what people need to understand. When it comes down, it comes with a terminal velocity."

Kitzis said a bullet can fall 900 feet per second.

Ruskin teenager Diego Duran was hit in the head by a falling bullet on January 1, 2012.

He survived to tell his story through the organization "Bullet Free Sky." It has become the focus of a PSA the Sheriff's Office said it is showing students in Hillsborough County Schools, both in English and in Spanish.

"We want you to have an enjoyable holiday, but we want everybody to remain safe," said Captain David Fleet.

The Sheriff's Office plans to use "Shot Spotter" technology over the weekend to detect gunshots. The technology is able to distinguish between the sound of gunshots and fireworks, in addition to pinpoint the location where the gunshot was heard.

Anyone caught firing a gun in celebration could face charges whether or not they injury someone else.

"Just discharging a firearm in public is a misdemeanor, so it's a crime as well," said Fleet. "Possessing a loaded firearm while impaired is also a crime, so those are all the kinds of things we're going to be looking for this weekend."

Crimestoppers of Tampa Bay has an ongoing program called "See it, Say it, Stop it."

Reporting someone who has an illegal gun could lead to a $1,000 reward.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Deputies cracking down on NYE celebratory gunfire
  • Ybor City security guard skips court, prompting new warrant
  • Gibsonton man allegedly tweeted child porn to local TV anchor
  • Tampa police unveil pink patrol cars for breast cancer awareness
  • Manatee Commission votes to remove Confederate statue
  • F-35 fighter parts manufacturer celebrates 20 years in Pinellas
  • Gator greets snorklers in Three Sisters Springs
  • "Cavern" under roadway closes Fletcher lanes
  • Lakeland K9 unit members disciplined for speeding
  • Arrest made after elderly woman robbed in driveway