The true cost of celebratory gunfire...


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Preacherman
January 4, 2006, 10:51 AM
From the New Orleans Times-Picayune (http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-4/113635949381440.xml):

New Year's shooting victim unable to walk

Police think gunfire was 'celebratory'

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

By Lynne Jensen
Staff writer

Mississippi tree farmer Mike Pieper arrived in New Orleans a few months ago as a housing inspector with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He soon was befriended by Uptown resident Beth McFarland, and on New Year's Eve the pair were drawn into the foggy night by fireworks and settled along the Mississippi River levee near McFarland's home.

It was the sound of Roman candles -- "the starburst kind that come down in a gazillion colors" -- that drew them to the levee at South Carrollton Avenue and Leake Street, Pieper said Tuesday.

Just before midnight, McFarland popped the cork on a bottle of champagne as a different popping sound rang out.

"I thought it was fireworks -- hoped it was fireworks," McFarland said. But seconds later, Pieper "turned to me and said, 'I've been shot,' " she said, standing at Pieper's bed in the intensive care unit at Ochsner Foundation Hospital.

According to a neurosurgeon's report, provided by Pieper, a bullet entered his right side and a fragment lodged on the left side of his spinal canal. His spine appears to be fractured and torn, and a blood clot is present.

Unable to walk, one of several disabilities caused by his wounds, Pieper has undergone two surgeries and more are anticipated. Doctors may have to place metal rods and screws in his spine to "promote neurological recovery," the medical report said.

A former U.S. Marine, Pieper, 56, said he was hit by shrapnel while serving in Vietnam.

"You could expect it in '69, but not on New Year's Eve in 2005," he said Tuesday, lying motionless from the waist down and seemingly tied down by an octopus of plastic tubes.

Police investigators found shell casings near the intersection where Pieper was shot. Witnesses told them that a group of four or five people were shooting guns in the direction of the levee.

Pieper, who said he was told he was hit by a .45-caliber bullet, is likely the victim of "celebratory gunfire," police spokesman Capt. Juan Quinton said Tuesday.

The deadly tradition of shooting guns into the air to celebrate holidays has been attacked by The New Year Coalition, founded after Boston tourist Amy Silberman was killed by a falling bullet in 1994 while waiting for a New Year's Eve fireworks display along the French Quarter riverfront.

McFarland said she never imagined that gunfire would ring out near the Riverbend area, especially so soon after Hurricane Katrina. "It is hard for me to believe people would be so irresponsible after what we've all gone through," she said.

Police said they received 19 calls about illegal gunfire on New Year's Day from midnight to 6 a.m., in contrast to 108 calls last year.

As soon as McFarland realized Pieper had been shot, she ran toward the popping sounds and to nearby watering hole Cooter Brown's, yelling, "Stop it! Stop it! Somebody's been shot," she said.

"At first, they thought I was crazy," she said. "Then as soon as they got what I was saying, the bartender called the police and I ran back to the levee."

As Pieper lay on his side, a Cooter Brown's cook "tried to comfort me," Pieper said. "He put his hands on my shoulders. I guess he was telling me to relax."

Pieper was taken to Ochsner. "I didn't know until today where I was," he said.

Pointing to a surgical scar running from his chest to his groin, Pieper said emergency room doctor Colleen Kennedy "probably saved my life."

Pieper said he left his Loblolly pine tree farm to become a FEMA inspector because he hoped to earn money and because it was "kind of adventurous."

He said he hopes the person who shot him will be found and will serve jail time.

"I have a feeling they were shooting in the air and then at the levee to have a target, and hopefully didn't realize there were people there," Pieper said.

On Tuesday, Cooter Brown's owner Larry Berestitzky said he is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot Pieper.

Berestitzky said he rushed to the barroom and eatery after a phone call about the shooting. "My bartender called me, frantic," he said.

Berestitzky said police came by to look at footage taken by a camera mounted outside his business.

He said the shooting is a sign that the city is getting back to how it used to be, after a period of post-Katrina calm. "The kumbaya stuff is over," he said. "Everybody's going to revert back to who they are."

Quinton asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the 2nd District police station at (504) 896-4700.

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Stiletto Null
January 4, 2006, 11:01 AM
If you're going to pop off a few at all for New Year's, use blanks FFS...oh well.

Good to hear he's alive and conscious.

ARperson
January 4, 2006, 11:57 AM
Guess that answers the big question about the danger of bullets coming down after being shot up into the air. :( That's why I always stay inside on New Year's Eve and any other holiday likely to result in celebratory gunfire.

Am I the only one that hears those stories of Middle Eastern area families losing a relative because some numbnut fired a shot in the air and the round came back down and killed somebody?

I feel for the guy.

Henry Bowman
January 4, 2006, 12:13 PM
He said the shooting is a sign that the city is getting back to how it used to be, after a period of post-Katrina calm. "The kumbaya stuff is over," he said. "Everybody's going to revert back to who they are."Well, at least that's good news. :rolleyes:

TheEgg
January 4, 2006, 12:14 PM
Not to start the old argument again about terminal velocity on a shot going straight up then down, but this particular incidence sounds like the shooting was NOT directed into the air, but rather horizontally toward the levee from the intersection/bar area.

If I was the cop doing the investigation, I would be all kind of suspicious about this one until I had interviewed everyone I could find that was involved in any way. I would NOT dismiss it as a 'celebratory gunfire' very quickly.

And:

"Everybody's going to revert back to who they are."

Of course -- 99.99% of the people in the world are incapable of change. (99.99% is a PFMA number -- but you get my drift).

geekWithA.45
January 4, 2006, 12:15 PM
You know, I didn't really hear much about shooting into the air on holidays until the last 10 years or so.

Then again, I grew up in a town full of heavily armed people with a clue and a sense of responsibility.

Tim L
January 4, 2006, 12:25 PM
Guess that answers the big question about the danger of bullets coming down after being shot up into the air. :( That's why I always stay inside on New Year's Eve and any other holiday likely to result in celebratory gunfire.

Am I the only one that hears those stories of Middle Eastern area families losing a relative because some numbnut fired a shot in the air and the round came back down and killed somebody?

I feel for the guy.
some friends of mine were living in a trailer while their house was being built and a round came through the roof of the trailer. it had enough energy to go through the roof and penetrate her leg.

These idiots need to cut that celebratory gunfire out.

Declaration Day
January 4, 2006, 12:44 PM
This year I heard much less gunfire on NYE than in years past. Nonetheless, there was a story here about a bullet coming down, through a roof, and narrowly missing a kid. :uhoh:

HankB
January 4, 2006, 12:49 PM
Shooting randomly in the air is stupid, irresponsible, etc. Don't do it.

But I still assert that in virtually all the cases of people being hit by random gunfire, the muzzles are far from vertical.

Sleeping Dog
January 4, 2006, 01:46 PM
Guess that answers the big question about the danger of bullets coming down after being shot up into the air.
"up into the air" can be any angle, like 30 degrees from horizontal. Straight up would likely be non-fatal. 30-45 degrees is volley-fire, and very bad for anyone standing in the trajectory.

Regards.

M.E.Eldridge
January 4, 2006, 06:32 PM
We shoot of guns on New Years. We do this at a gun range though, lately some guys form my gun club decided it would be a fun way to ring in the new year. When I fire guns up in the air for anything, I use blanks(like for 4th of July).

Browns Fan
January 4, 2006, 06:46 PM
As I said in a similar post, this is incredibly stupid and irresponsible. As a law abiding and responsible gun owner, i am infuriated!:fire:

gt3944
January 4, 2006, 07:05 PM
Lets just say that I'm glad I moved to Georgia after Katrina ..freaking idiots.....:cuss:

Standing Wolf
January 4, 2006, 07:26 PM
Firing into the ground makes just as much noise.

Carl N. Brown
January 4, 2006, 07:29 PM
Sleeping dog is right, Bullets that reach the apex of
their trajectory still moving retain enough velocity
to be significant wounders and killers on the way down.

I have fired blanks or bird bombs, but there is no excuse
for firing BULLETED cartridges for "celebratory" purposes.

You must know your backstop: where the bullet will land,
or not shoot at all. Especially not shoot just to make noise.

Borachon
January 4, 2006, 10:31 PM
Not to start another old argument, but the .45 in this case didn't appear to be a complete man stopper. Indeed his ability to stand and then turn to his companion afterward clearly demonstrates that just being shot with a .45 is not enough to incapacitate a person. A lesson for those who might rely solely on their caliber for protection and not their shot placement.

Drue
January 4, 2006, 10:52 PM
On New Year's Day 1993 I was about to get into my car and noticed glass on the front seat. "Crap" I thought, "someboby has broken into the car." Opening the door and looking around, I did not see any broken windows??!! Looking up I finally found the source, there was a bullet hole in the windshield about 2" from the roof. Looking down, there was a 230gr FMJ .45 ACP slug on the floor board. There was also a small tear in the carpet and a dent in the floorboard under the tear. Had someone been sitting in the driver's seat. they would have been hit on the right knee. A string connecting the hole and the dent indicated that the bullet was comming almost straight down. Falling bullets can have enough terminal velocity to cause real damage or injury.

Drue

Shingle Monkey
January 4, 2006, 11:18 PM
we find on an average of 3 bullets in roofs a year, out of the 150 or so roofs that we are on here in Indy. Its not the bad neighborhoods either, its all of them.

The bullets usually go in the shingles less tan 1/2"

Hardtarget
January 5, 2006, 01:26 AM
I live in the Inglewood area of Nashville, Tn. There was lots of gunfire on New Years. The sound came from all directions. I've been waiting...I knew i'd hear of some poor soul injured or killed. Sorry way to start the year. :mad:
Mark.

Preacherman
January 5, 2006, 11:10 AM
Here's another victim... :fire:

From Florida Local6 TV (http://www.local6.com/news/5829143/detail.html):

Woman Will Likely Live With Bullet In Head

POSTED: 11:04 pm EST January 3, 2006
UPDATED: 1:57 pm EST January 4, 2006

A Central Florida woman who was struck in the face by a stray bullet while watching New Year's Eve fireworks will likely be forced to live with it lodged in her skull, according to a Local 6 News report.

Investigators said Ruby Cintron was standing on the north shoreline of Crooked Lake in the Highlands Lake subdivision off Hiawassee Road after midnight Sunday when she was hit near the eye by the .45-caliber bullet.

An investigation determined that the bullet came from someone who fired into the sky to ring in the New Year.

The bullet destroyed Cintron's eye and became lodged in her skull behind an eye socket. Doctors said removing the bullet means removing her eye, which is already destroyed.

Cintron, who does not have health insurance, was forced to leave the hospital Tuesday because she cannot afford further care for her injuries, according to the report.

Since Cintron is not a U.S. citizen, she does not qualify for aide, Local 6 News reported.

Ruby's husband, Domingo, said he is waiting for his wife's family to arrive from Ecuador before he tells her that a bullet struck her face. She believes she was hit by a firecracker.

Police hope the person who fired the shot will turn themselves in to authorities.

If you have any information concerning this shooting, you are urged to call Crimeline at (800) 423-TIPS.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

Sheldon J
January 5, 2006, 03:09 PM
and the plant was very cautious about issues that may occur. So being the plant FM I had to stay, :fire: lamenting my not being with my family I went to the roof of one of the taller buildings to watch the fireworks downtown, :cool: the appointed time came and all was well with the world. :p But what was that I hear but the sound of full auto fire, :uhoh: M16 and AK by the reports, :what: along with the sound of the fireworks, was also the report of other guns being fired into the air. 44 mag, high power riffle, shotgun, and some home made bangs as a bunch of drunken bozo’s across the street set something off that was very loud as they danced around like a bunch of 10 year olds at their first home made firecracker.:scrutiny:

DevLcL
January 5, 2006, 04:19 PM
Lets just say that I'm glad I moved to Georgia after Katrina ..freaking idiots.....:cuss:

If you moved anywhere near Atlanta it aint gonna be much better.

-Dev

Reddog1
January 5, 2006, 04:55 PM
It is a crying shame that some people still don't know ,"What goes up , must
come down ", and how many are out there that don't care where that round
is going just as long as they are having what they call fun.
Stupid and sad to say the least. :banghead: :fire: :barf: :cuss:

JV_2108
January 5, 2006, 08:01 PM
"Everybody's going to revert back to who they are."

Of course -- 99.99% of the people in the world are incapable of change. (99.99% is a PFMA number -- but you get my drift).

I get your drift, but am curious as to the PFMA acronym. I didn't run across it here: http://thehighroad.org/library/acro/acron.html

MarkDido
January 5, 2006, 08:29 PM
It was the sound of Roman candles -- "the starburst kind that come down in a gazillion colors" -- that drew them to the levee at South Carrollton Avenue and Leake Street, Pieper said Tuesday.

:eek:

TheEgg
January 6, 2006, 01:25 PM
Sorry -- old acronym from well before the Internet (yes Virginia, there used to be no Internet:eek: )

Without breaking the rules -- Pulled from my ***. An old scientific term.:D

nomadboi
January 6, 2006, 03:53 PM
I hear gunfire about once a week in my neighborhood... usually about five or six in regular succession, not too fast, not too slow... I'm assuming it's just someone shooting in the air or something- it's a pretty urban area.

Occasionally things get more interesting, with some rapid shots.

Wish I had the money to move my family elsewhere.

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