Richmond Police warn against drunk driving and celebratory gunfire

Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 12:08 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 12:24 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Between drunk drivers and random gunfire, Richmond Police have a lot on their hands as we enter the new year.

“A lot of people think it’s a harmless thing but it’s actually very dangerous,” said Acting Capt. Anthony Jackson, Richmond Police Dept.

Just minutes into 2020, La-tiyah Hood, a 28-year-old mother of two was fatally shot at a North Avenue home, as a group of people celebrated by shooting guns into the air.

RPD received 70 calls for service with reports of random gunfire over the 2020 New Year’s Eve holiday. That was down 34% from the previous year.

During the 2019 - 2020 holiday, 107 calls for service were reported compared to 195 of 2018 into 2019.

“One of the easiest things, a physics equation, what goes must come down. So all those bullets that get fired in the air are going to come back down and land on something or someone somewhere,” said Acting Capt. Jackson.

Police say willfully discharging a weapon into the air that causes injury to another person can carry a felony charge punishable by one to five years in prison.

They say if you hear gunfire or see it, call 911 immediately.

“If you are old enough to drink then act like it in Virginia. This is part of Virginia’s checkpoint strike force campaign which celebrates its 20th year this year,” said Kurt Erickson, Virginia’s Checkpoint Strike Force.

Here are some sobering statistics for 2020 from that group. Petersburg has seen a 57% jump in drunk driving crashes as well as injuries and fatalities.

In Hanover, drunk driving injuries went up 22%. And in Richmond drunk crashes and injuries are down, however, fatalities doubled

“Unfortunately there’s not a part of the commonwealth that’s exempt from this toll,” said Erickson.

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