In an effort to reduce injuries, death, and property damage associated with indiscriminate gunfire and the increased incidents involving intoxicated drivers, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is promoting the safe celebration of our Country's Independence Day. Along with activating sobriety checkpoints, the LAPD will seek out and arrest any person firing a gun during celebrations. Indiscriminate gunfire will not be tolerated in the City/County of Los Angeles. Discharging a firearm into the air is a felony, punishable by one year in state prison. Anyone arrested for discharging a firearm will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Should a stray bullet kill someone, the shooter will be arrested and charged with murder.
On July 4, 1999, Brian Perez was celebrating the holiday with family and friends, when a bullet fired aimlessly into the sky and struck him in the head. The following day Brian died from his injuries. He was only nine years old.
The senseless death of Brian Perez and the potential for others being injured compels the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department to once again ask the community to celebrate the holidays safely and responsibly. Don't fire guns into the air! If you see someone committing such acts, please call the police. Remember, what goes up, will come down, and when a bullet falls back to earth, it travels at a fatal velocity.
Many times individuals involved in celebrating holidays such as Independence Day with gunfire do not realize the dangers posed in their actions. Research has found that a bullet fired into the sky can climb up to two miles and remain in flight for more than a minute. As it falls, the bullet reaches a velocity of 300 to 700 feet per second. A velocity of only 200 feet per second is sufficient to penetrate the human skull.
The Los Angeles Police Department has made great strides in reducing the amount of indiscriminate gunfire that occurs during the Independence Day holiday. Comprehensive public education and awareness campaigns have dramatically reduced the threat to the community.
Lastly, please remember that fireworks of any kind (including the 'Safe and Sane' kind) are prohibited in the City of Los Angeles. We encourage our community to enjoy a professionally organized pyrotechnics fireworks show and to celebrate the 4th of July safely and responsibly.