Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Authorities Warn Against New Year's Eve Gunplay

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Top law enforcement officials, and a gunshot victim, were again warning Philadelphians about the dangers of irresponsible gun use to celebrate on this New Year's Eve.

Today at police headquarters, commissioner Charles Ramsey said the laws of gravity are in play, making firing a gun into the air dangerous at best.

"Bullets go up, and they do come down, and we have no control over where they land and who they might injure," Ramsey (far left in photo) said.

Then, Joe Jaskolka, accompanied by his father, told his story.   On December 31st, 1998, Jaskolka -- then 11 years old -- was walking near Second Street in South Philadelphia when he was hit by a random bullet.

"I left the house to go see the fireworks at Penn's Landing," he recalled today from his wheelchair.   "I got maybe a block from my grandmother's house and I fell to the ground, shot in the head."

The bullet is still lodged in his head, and the person who fired the gun has never been caught.  Now 26, Joe is paralyzed on the right side and has undergone more than 50 surgeries.

Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams (at lectern in photo) says that on a typical night shift, between 10pm and 3am, there are ten reports of gunfire in the City of Philadelphia.  On New Year's Eve, it's more than ten times that.

"Last year there were 132 reports of gunshots fired between 10pm on December 31st and 3am on January 1, 2013," he said.

Williams says such an idiotic and senseless act could land you behind bars.  He says charges include recklessly endangering another person and, if a bullet strikes someone, the shooter could be charged with aggravated assault, attempted murder, or even murder.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.