LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Authorities Tuesday issued a warning to residents ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities to not discharge weapons into the air.
The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department warned revelers of their “Zero Tolerance” policy toward celebratory gunfire, which is a felony in California.
“Deputies will be actively looking for anyone discharging a firearm in a negligent manner,” authorities said in a department statement.
In Los Angeles County alone, celebratory gunfire has been blamed for dozens of deaths in the past three decades, according to KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta.
Among them, the killing of 9-year-old Brian Perez in South Los Angeles.
“I’ve handled numerous homicides. I’ve worked homicide for several years. And that one … I remembered it because it stayed with me,” said one LAPD sergeant.
Perez was killed in 1999 when a stray bullet fired into the air on the Fourth of July, striking him in the head.
“It completely ripped that family apart and it was because of the negligent acts of somebody else who was probably just celebrating, not realizing that round has to come down somewhere,” he said.
Local authorities report that there has not been a death linked to celebratory gunfire for several years, an indication that suppression efforts appear to be working.