SOUTH MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Just three days before New Year’s Eve, Miami city leaders gathered across the county to put an end to celebratory gunfire that occurs too often in South Florida during the national holiday.
In 2016, too many innocent lives were lost due to stray bullets. According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, bullets shot into the air can climb two miles, and then fall at a rate of 300 to 700 feet-per-second. “When a bullet goes up in the air, it always has to come down,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson, “and when it comes down, we have no idea where that bullet is coming down to, and it can kill.”
This year, in anticipation of the hundreds of New Year’s Eve events taking place across Miami, city leaders are taking efforts to end gun violence one step further by putting initiatives such as “One Bullet Kills The Party” in place.
“One bullet is all it takes to kill the party,” Edmonson said. “Targeted or random shootings tear away at the fabric of our community. This year, we’re adding something different as far as the county goes and as well as the city. We are going to get tougher now on this gun violence.”
City of Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado and Edmonson held a press conference for the “One Bullet Kills The Party” initiative at the Liberty Square Community Center, Thursday.
“It’s important that we use this day, as the commissioner has done, to announce the initiative to combat gun violence,” said Regalado. “The shot spotters that are located in this area have been very successful in determining the origin and the site of any shooting that happens in this neighborhood.”
A similar press conference was held earlier on the same day at The Torch of Friendship monument on Biscayne Boulevard.
“The county has budgeted over 2.4 million dollars to help fight this gun violence,” added Edmonson, “and I intend to become as aggressive as possible and join in with other leaders.”
At Bayside Park, that same message that call for a stop to stray bullets was echoed.
“Let’s take those guns and put them down,” said Chiquita Butler, senior executive assistant to the City of Miami Police Chief. “They’re supposed to be used for protection anyways, and if we’re celebrating, then what are we protecting? Nothing. Put them away, and let’s save some lives for 2017, so let’s make this simple. Let’s look forward to the future. Let’s take those guns and take them down.”
At 6 p.m., a rally will be held to spread this message in honor of an 8-year-old girl Jada Page who was fatally shot in Liberty City. The rally will be held along Northwest 95th Street and Seventh Avenue.
Page was shot outside of her home on Aug. 28. A stray bullet also took the life of 6-year-old King Carter. He was caught in the middle of the gunfire between two groups of teens. Carter was on his way to buy candy at the time.
Law enforcement is asking the community to set an example for the younger generation in the new year. “On New Year’s Eve, don’t fire your gun in the air as celebration,” said Miami-Dade Police Assistant Director Alfredo Ramirez. “What is the message that we’re sending to our children? That it’s a toy? That it’s a party favor? It’s not. It kills people.”
With so many firework shows and events going on this New Year’s Eve, there’s no reason to use celebratory gunfire, said officials.
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