STOCKTON (CBS13) – Several people in Stockton not only saw fireworks as people rang in the New Year, but they also heard a lot of celebratory gunfire.
Bullets flying in the air during any holiday of the year, police say has become a big a problem.READ MORE: Record Number Of Loaded Guns Found At US Airport Security Checkpoints
Stockton Police say it’s not only illegal, but extremely dangerous – celebratory gunfire that kept officers busy from one side of town to the other.
Business owner Roderick Tyler survived another New Year’s Eve celebration in Stockton – one that was filled with fireworks and gunfire.
“I went to church in Modesto, but when I came back to Stockton, I was like, it felt like a war zone. It was all the gunshots, pow, pow, pow. It’s crazy,” he said.
Celebratory gunfire remains an issue across the country particularly on New Year ’s Eve.
“Usually, it’s how it goes every year,” said Tina Huerta of Stockton.READ MORE: Fire Burns Self-Storage Units In North Highlands
In Stockton, police officers deployed a Shotspotter. It was used in specific areas of the city with the highest amount of illegal gun and fireworks. The Shotspotter helps detect and locate gunfire incidents.
“I’m glad they have that because that is basically what is protecting everyone in the community. You know, less people dying and more people surviving,” she said.
Huerta lives near the area where police say an 18-year-old woman was hit by a bullet on New Year ’s Eve. Five miles away, a 24-year-old man attending a gathering in the 22-hundred block of Somerset drive was also struck by a stray bullet. Investigators can’t confirm, but say it’s pretty likely the shootings were related to celebratory gunfire.
“They go up, but they also come back down so it’s like dang, do I got to watch out because they end up coming down and hitting my kids. It’s scary,” said Paul Deloney of Stockton.
Stockton police say it’s committed to a policy of strict enforcement of illegal gun use and its initiatives to combat gun violence. Neighbors just hope they never caught in the middle of someone’s celebration.
“I don’t know why they got to shoot guns. They can do fireworks or something,” he said.MORE NEWS: US Plans $50B Wildfire Fight Where Forests Meet Neighborhoods
Police say the two victims hit by stray bullets were treated at local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. They are expected to be okay.