Community leaders remind residents of dangers of celebratory gunfire

MIAMI (WSVN) - Community leaders gathered days before the Fourth of July to remind residents of the dangers of shooting a gun in a fit of celebration.

Religious leaders, police officers, politicians and a host of others gathered Monday, all working towards the same goal.

“We say no more stray bullets, lets stop the violence,” said Rev. Jerome Starling. “Celebrating Fourth of July is just not with a gun. It’s just not.”

Starling said it’s sad that people continue to miss the message, despite years of public service announcements and other warnings.

“It’s unbelievable. For 21 years, we have come with all different municipalities throughout the county and ask people don’t fire these guns and people still firing guns,” Starling said.

Starling lost his own niece 5-year-old niece Rekia to a stray bullet in 1997. Rekia was walking home in Liberty City after attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade when she was killed.

Now, officials want to make sure the shooting comes to an end.

“Always remember that what goes up will always come down,” said Miami Police Maj. Robin Starks.

“My pitch to the community is refrain from using guns during this holiday season and let’s not have any tragedy occur on July 4th,” said Miami Police Cmdr. Tony Riguera.

Officials hope that children and all pedestrians will be able to safely enjoy the holiday.

“As I stand here, I hear the voices of children. We should never ever ever want to quiet those voices,” said Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall of the Miami-Dade County School Board .

“We’re here in a park where children play. We want the children to be able to continue to play,” said state representative Cynthia Stafford.

For a list of safe Fourth of July events taking place around South Florida, click here.

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