MIAMI (WSVN) - South Florida community leaders came together to ask the public to refrain from firing guns during the Fourth of July holiday.
Leaders and local police officers held a news conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Friday. They addressed concerns of people randomly firing guns in the air as they celebrate, which caused a girl in Liberty City to die almost two decades ago.
“Celebrating by firing, discharging weapons in the air is unlawful and unruly,” said the Rev. Jerome Starling. “Someone can get shot or killed and may lie in this hospital in the trauma center.”
Starling, a community activist, has called for an end to stray bullets for 19 years after his 5-year-old niece, Rickia Isaac, was shot and killed by a stray bullet.
Isaac was walking home from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Liberty City.
“We need all communities to work together for the better of the good,” said Starling, “so that we could live a good life, enjoy a good life, a righteous life.”
Miami-Dade Police are also worried about stray bullets causing harm to people during the Fourth of July. “We want to have an awesome, enjoyable and safe holiday,” said Miami-Dade Police Assistant Director Stephanie Daniels. “We’re pleading with you all not to pick up guns, not to do that as celebrating the Fourth.”
“What goes up, must come down,” said Opa-locka Police Chief James Dobson. “We don’t want anymore senseless death or serious injuries to any of our family members.”
Starling believes that if not for the stray bullet that killed his niece, Isaac would still be alive today. Now he is trying to prevent another family from feeling the pain he is still struggling with two decades later.
“We must not let our loved ones or our neighbors end up as a victim in the Ryder Trauma Center or any trauma center,” said Starling.
Police also took the opportunity to remind revelers that they could face jail time if they engage in celebratory gunfire. They encouraged anyone who witnesses these acts to contact their local police department.
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