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Police Warn Citizens To Not Ring In New Year With Celebratory Gunfire

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - As many people ring in the new year by watching fireworks shoot up in the sky, police will be on the lookout for those shooting bullets in the air.

The Fort Worth Police Department wants to remind people if they're caught firing guns into the air, it comes with a charge of $4,000 and up to a year in jail.

"It just makes it unsafe not just for the individuals that may be around but the individual it may hit," said Officer Buddy Calzada, Fort Worth Public Information Officer.

Texas Representative Armando Martinez knows all too well the consequences of celebratory gunfire when he was hit back in 2016 going into 2017.

"Immediately I felt something hit me on the head and you can see I do have, still have the scar here from when it occurred and it felt like a sledgehammer hit me over the head. I thought right away maybe it had been a firework that had exploded maybe hit me but as I felt the welt and I looked at my hand and I saw some blood on my hand and I was a victim of celebratory gunfire."

Luckily, he recovered, but many others can't say the same.

The problem is so bad in some parts of Dallas that neighborhood leaders like Ola Allen, President of the Marsalis Park Home Owners Association, wanted to do something about it, "We decided this year, enough is enough."

Allen said they are hiring a couple police officers to catch those who do this illegal activity, "Stray bullets are just everywhere and it could have been worse," said Allen, "We realize our city can't do it all."

Besides hitting a person, the bullets can land on houses or cars, causing thousands of dollars of property damage.

The best thing you can do according to police is to put the guns away and celebrate safely.

"Some people think well then I'll just fire it into the ground, we'll you deal with the process of maybe it ricocheting so just stay away from gunfire," added Calzada.

If you see someone firing off bullets into the air, police say to call your local police department.

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