Thursday, June 30 2022
HILLSBOROUGH, NC (WTVD) – Don’t celebrate the New Year by firing shots in the air, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is warning.

“Stray bullets can be fatal,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. “A bullet fired directly into the air will descend at a slower rate than it increased, but that bullet will still travel fast enough to enter a human body.”

Shooting in the air is illegal and dangerous.

Two years ago, a stray bullet injured a UNC student celebrating in Raleigh.

“A bullet fired into the air falls 20 to 90 seconds later and can injure someone a mile or two away,” Blackwood said. “That’s why shooting a gun in the air is never a good idea, even in rural areas.”

With bars and restaurants closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blackwood warns this is creating new momentum.

With more people celebrating near their homes, that could mean more pedestrians after dark. Blackwood said it’s more important than ever to select a designated driver or use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.

“At night when motorists might have been drinking and you might have been drinking as a pedestrian, think again beforehand. Wear something reflective. Turn on your flashlight on your cell phone. Just something to make you more visible. Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Alicia Stemper said.

Fireworks and bonfires are also very popular home events on New Year’s Day.

“Have someone who’s sober. I mean fireworks don’t mix with alcohol. So keep people away, have a bucket of water or a hose. Just simple steps to mitigate, though. something’s wrong, to mitigate how badly it gets, “Stemper said.

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