Florida authorities believe that a 12-year-old boy may have been critically wounded on New Year ‘s Eve following a celebratory gunshot supposedly fired into the air miles away.
According to reports, the boy and his family were outside their home enjoying the fireworks display around 1 a.m., when the boy fell to the ground bleeding from his eyes and nose.
The boy’s family, unable to determine the cause of bleeding, rushed the boy to South Bay Hospital where doctors confirmed a bullet had entered the top of his head. He was transferred to Tampa Bay General Hospital where he remains in critical condition with the bullet still inside his head.
No reports of gunfire nearby were reported, but police suspect the boy was hit by gunfire falling from the sky from miles away.
Police are questioning people in the surrounding area in an effort to figure out who pulled the trigger.
A Spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office calls the act irresponsible and said the crime carries felony consequences.
The illegal discharge of firearms is banned within city limits and prosecuted rather vigorously in Florida. So-called “celebratory gunfire” is considered reckless and when a stray bullet lands it can result in serious injuries. When a gun is fired up in the air it can be very difficult to trace where the shot was fired from. Where a randomly fired bullet lands depends on the angle of the trajectory it was fired at. Generally, the lower the trajectory, the faster the bullet, and it could fall from several thousand yards away.
In some areas of the world, celebratory gunfire is a tradition and it is acceptable to set off destructive devices in celebration of weddings, anniversaries and other such festivities. Randomly firing a gun in a public place is a felony in only a few states, and in Florida it is a misdemeanor offense. Studies show that the possibility of death from a bullet shot in the sky is far greater than other gunshots because they cause head injuries 80 percent of the time.
Strict Florida laws prohibit anyone from knowingly and willingly discharging a firearm in a public place, which includes public roads, streets, highways, a vehicle, private residence or any other occupied dwelling. Any individual that does discharge a weapon in a public place or inside a residence can be charged with first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. Likewise, if a person discharges a firearm from inside a vehicle, within 1,000 feet of another person, they will face a second-degree felony carrying consequences of up to 15 years in prison.
If you think you may be charged with a weapons offense in Florida, it is important to understand that the State takes these charges quite seriously. There are numerous weapons crimes that can be committed and criminal history, the type of firearm used and the person’s intent can all play a role in determining the charge. It is very important for anyone that could potentially be charged with a weapons offense to contact a Florida Firearms Lawyer immediately to discuss your options. The Florida Firearms Defense Lawyers can start building an aggressive defense for you right away, so it is crucial to the outcome of your case to act fast.
If you or someone you love faces charges of a weapons offense in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, contact the Florida Firearms Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call us in Hillsborough County at 813-221-3200 or reach us statewide and toll-free by dialing 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).