'Celebratory' gunfire on New Year's can end in injury, damage

INDIANAPOLIS - One New Year’s Eve tradition lands innocent victims in the hospital every year. Both police and doctors are warning against the so-called “celebratory gunfire” that happens in Indianapolis every New Year’s.

Dispatchers report dozens of extra calls of “shots fired” each New Year's Eve around midnight that bog down the 911 center and tie up police officers.

Those bullets fired in the air can come down with terminal velocity, damaging  property like cars and roof tops and injuring -- even killing -- people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), those falling bullets most often hit the head, shoulders and feet.

"The problem is the combination of this celebration mixed with alcohol and the guys shooting up," Eskenazi Health Chief of Trauma Dr. Gerry Gomez said.

Dr. Gomez said at Eskenazi Health, trauma doctors see an increase in gunfire related injuries every New Year.  And they've seen a handful of serious injuries over the years from “celebratory gunfire.”

"Holidays, New Year's, Fourth of July, those days usually result in more injuries, unfortunately," Dr. Gomez said.

Diego Duran spent 7 months in a hospital room, in and out of a coma, after a bullet lodged in the 12-year old's brain. That New Year's Eve bullet was shot by someone roughly a mile away.

Now, Duran and his mother have made it their mission to spread the word that celebratory gunfire can hurt -- even kill.

Firing a gun within some places in Marion County is a misdemeanor, and the person who fired the gun is responsible for whatever damage those falling bullets caused, and can face charges as serious as involuntary manslaughter if the bullets hit someone.

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