Stop shooting your guns into the sky, Philadelphia officials plead ahead of July 4: ‘Don’t do stupid things’

  • Philadelphia officials urge residents to refrain from “celebratory” shooting on the Fourth of July.

  • District Attorney Larry Krasner said firing a gun into the air is dangerous and a crime.

  • “Don’t do stupid things,” Krasner urged Philadelphians.

Authorities are urging Philadelphians to use their brains on the Fourth of July, and the city’s top prosecutor specifically asked residents not to get too drunk and start shooting their guns in the air.

“The celebration must be safe,” District Attorney Larry Krasner told reporters during a news conference Monday morning in West Philadelphia. “Obviously that takes different forms. Don’t get behind the wheel drunk. Don’t do stupid things. This is obvious.”

Perhaps less obvious, at least to some, is that bullets that go up must come down. Unfortunately, Krasner said, “this city has a very sad history of people who, whether it’s New Year’s Eve or around the Fourth of July, or some other holiday, think it’s a good time to take up their guns and shoot them in the air. Please don’t do this.”

Last year, two Philadelphia police officers were hit by bullets during a Fourth of July celebration on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, prompting dozens of celebrants to flee the scene and a massive response from authorities. Investigators later said the bullets came from the same gun, but no perpetrator was arrested and the gun may have been fired from more than a mile away, WHYY reported.

In January, an 87-year-old woman who was celebrating the New Year on the steps of her home in the Port Richmond neighborhood was hit by a bullet shortly after midnight. The woman, who received stitches, told a local ABC affiliate that she agreed that whoever was shooting their gun into the air was “stupid.”

“If it hit my head, I probably wouldn’t be here,” the woman said.

Krasner, who said there are at least four active cases in Pennsylvania in which people are being prosecuted for celebratory shootings, warned that the practice can also be dangerous for the perpetrator. He pointed to a case in which a man, “drunk as a skunk,” was killed by police responding to calls about shots fired in an alley, a shooting he described as justified.

“They don’t know if you’re there just to shoot in the air or if you’re there to do much more than that,” he said of the police. “There are better things to do with your time.”

Vonda Hairston, chief of court operations for the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, said the city, where the rise in gun violence during the pandemic has only begun to subside this year, said residents thinking about celebrating with a firearm fire should reacquaint themselves with the concept of gravity.

“What goes up must come down,” Hairston said. “So we beg anyone who thinks this is funny to refrain from doing it. Not just tomorrow, but every day.”

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