Police warn against celebratory gunfire

Published: Dec. 30, 2016 at 8:14 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 2, 2017 at 12:05 PM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Police in Central Virginia are increasing patrols for New Years 2016 and warning against celebratory gunfire.

Celebratory gunfire involves the firing of a gun at random into the air which could result in injury or even death when the bullet comes spiraling down. Seven-year-old Brendon Mackey was killed in Brandermill on July 4, 2013 after a stray bullet from a celebratory gun shot hit him. No one has ever been arrested. Because of this case, it is now a felony to engage in celebratory gunfire in Virginia when it causes injury. It is a misdemeanor if you engage in celebratory gunfire and it doesn't result in injury or death.

In order to prevent situations like this from happening, police will increase patrols this New Year's Eve.

Andrea Reismeyer, a captain with the Chesterfield Police Department said police typically see celebratory gunfire happen most on the fourth of July and on New Year's Eve.

"We see people going into their backyards or onto their property and taking a firearm and shooting it randomly into the air," Reismeyer said. "We
know this is dangerous and we know it can seriously injure or kill people."

If charged with a felony due to celebratory gunfire, a person could face jail time. Even if the shot doesn't injure or kill someone, the shooter will be charged with a misdemeanor and could still face time behind bars.

"Don't do it. It is illegal," David Hancock, a manager at Bob Moates Sports Shop said. "It is dangerous and nobody needs another child killed because of someone's drunken stupidity."

"You don't want to be responsible for the death of another human being over the course of your celebration," Reismeyer said.

Police received 10 reported celebratory gunfire calls on New Year's Eve in 2015.

Police urge people who find themselves in a situation where they see someone participating in celebratory gunfire to contact authorities.

There was never any arrests made in the Brendon Mackey case from 2013. If you have any information that could help police or if you, yourself shot a gun the night that this little boy was killed, police urge you to call Crime solvers at (804) 748-0660.

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