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Progress, but bullets still fall on 4th

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image Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Larry McKinnon spoke about the dangers of celebratory gunfire during a press conference in Ruskin on July 3. Photo Mitch Traphagen

Sadly, at least one life was taken during the holiday when a 7-year-old boy in Virginia was struck in the head by a falling bullet while holding hands with his father.

By Mitch Traphagen

On July 3, local nonprofit Bullet Free Sky, dedicated to stopping senseless injuries and deaths from celebratory gunfire, held its first fundraising event at the Firehouse Cultural Center. The funds raised will go 100 percent towards the organization’s continuing efforts to educate about the dangers of that activity. It appeared that much of South Hillsborough was indeed able to celebrate the holiday under bullet-free skies.

Unfortunately, other parts of Tampa Bay and the nation weren’t so lucky. The Tampa Bay Times reported two incidents involving celebratory gunfire in St. Petersburg, with bullets falling through the roofs of homes, resulting in one injury. In Miami, a woman was hit in the thigh; in Maryland, a 17-year-old girl was hit by a stray bullet shot by her grandfather; and a 29-year-old woman in Georgia was hit in the chest and is in critical condition. Sadly, at least one life was taken during the holiday when a 7-year-old boy in Virginia was struck in the head by a falling bullet while holding hands with his father.

The Bullet Free Sky event was sponsored by numerous local businesses including the Firehouse Cultural Center, SouthShore Chamber of Commerce, Aegis Tactical, the Dog House & More, Elmira’s Wildlife Sanctuary, Alert Air, Fifth Third Bank-Ruskin, South Shore Arts Council and Apollo’s Bistro, along with other area businesses. The event also included a free concert by Kelly Emerson and Gary Garbelman.

For more information, visit www.bulletfreesky.com.

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