Police in West Palm Beach are issuing a warning for residents to refrain from celebratory gunfire ahead of the new year.
This comes after police said a West Palm Beach couple noticed a bullet hole in the hood of their Honda Accord on Tuesday night.
A woman told them that she left their apartment complex at about 5 p.m. and drove around performing errands but didn’t notice the damage until she returned home. The couple, who live in the 1000 block of The Pointe Drive, then called the police after noticing the bullet hole.
Investigators said it is unclear if the vehicle was hit by gunfire before or while the woman was driving.
“While it may be culturally accepted in some countries, celebratory gunfire shooting guns into the air to ‘celebrate’ holidays is not only dangerous but illegal in Florida,” West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said in a news release. “Falling bullets can injure and kill.”
Citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, police said 80% of injuries from celebratory gunfire are to the head, shoulders and feet of those hit.
“The risk of being killed when struck by celebratory gunfire is greater than a typical shooting, because of the increased likelihood of a penetrating skull injury,” Jachles said. “Property can also be damaged by celebratory gunfire, most commonly when bullets become lodged in roofs, penetrate cars or other property on the ground, like the hood of car that was struck Dec. 26, which could have killed injured or killed anyone in the car.”
Police said additional officers will be on patrol throughout the New Year’s holiday.
They said there is a zero-tolerance for celebratory gunfire and anyone caught by police will face the maximum charges.