Watch CBS News

Philadelphia Man Gets 20 Years After Firing Gun Into Thin Air

By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A 47-year-old Philadelphia man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for celebratory gunfire.

No one was hurt, but similar reckless and dangerous acts have cost lives -- and ruined lives -- over the years.

Francis Aponte was at an outdoor party near 4th and Indiana in June of 2012 when he was spotted by two Philadelphia police officers firing a gun into the air.  And that act, along with his significant criminal record that included at least one prior felony, has resulted in the 20-year sentence.

Federal prosecutor Jose Arteaga argued that the defendant committed a potentially lethal offense, and noted several prior instances in this region:

"I cite an example of a four-year-old boy who was killed when the bullet enered the top of his head when an individual fired a gun into the air.  There was a seven-year-old that was killed. There was a 34-year-old woman that was killed while she was standing in a back yard."

And in Philadelphia, Joey Jaskolka was shot and permanently injured by stray gunfire on New Year's Eve 1998.  He has since undergone more than 50 surgeries plus countless hours of rehabilitation.

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.