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Police say celebratory gunfire a growing problem in Jacksonville after 8-year-old boy is shot in foot on New Year's Eve

11:48 PM, Jan 3, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Northside couple, their son and daughter, and their three nieces had great seats on the Riverwalk in the shadow of downtown on New Year's Eve, ready for the exciting new year's fireworks show.

But 10 minutes before midnight, excitement turned to fear.

"We all hear a thwack and it sounded like a rock hitting wood and my son Luke started jumping up and hollering that something hit his foot," said Tammy, Luke's mother.

"My husband opened up the shoe and found a bullet."

8-year-old Luke was taken to the hospital by his parents, where the wound in his right foot was sewed up. A rifle bullet had gone through his right foot. Luke was lucky the injuries weren't worse.

"There was no bone damage, no tendon damage, he was very fortunate. Where it hit him in the foot, just a few more inches it would have hit him in the head."

While Luke's mother Tammy did not want to appear on camera, she wants her family's story out there in hopes of preventing this from happening again to another family.

"That is not using a whole lot of common sense, because as the officer said, what goes up must come down."

Jacksonville police say they answered 259 calls for discharged firearms on New Year's Eve.

Melissa Bujeda of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it is dangerous and this is a perfect example of how it can be a very, very tragic situation.

"They know it is wrong, it is illegal, just like any other law that is broken, they are out there doing it, they know it is not right, they just think they are not going to get caught."

Bujeda said it is difficult for police to make arrests in these cases. She urges citizens to quit doing it. It is not just on nights of celebration. Bujeda said two weeks prior to New Year's Eve on a Monday night, police responded to 29 calls of discharging firearms.

First Coast News

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