Celebratory Gunfire Scares South Columbus Residents


UPDATED: Wednesday January 1, 2014 6:45 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio

Columbus police say dispatchers took calls about celebratory gunfire from all parts of the city, despite an aggressive campaign to prevent it.

"Back in here, past the alley was the other shots," said Tisch Williamson who says her New Years literally went off with a bang.

"The first gun shots I heard was about 10 o'clock. It was like 8 pops. After midnight, there were shots going off over here and over there," she says.

She worried that a stray bullet was going to hit her home.

"I'm very concerned. I had my grandbaby here last night, and he's only 2 months old, so I was extremely concerned," she said.

The concern about celebratory gunfire prompted the Columbus Division of Police to launch a city-wide campaign with posters and billboards to remind people about the dangers of firing their guns into the air.

"I heard gun shots and I was scared," said 16-year-old Nardez Lawson, whose house is off East Whittier Avenue.

"It was all around the area, so I was just laying on the floor just in case it hit the window or something," he said.

"It's kind of traumatic. I have two little children and we didn't know if we had to get into the basement or get down on the floor. It started a little bit before midnight," said Jaquelin Sherill of South Columbus.

As for people like Tisch Williamson, she's hoping next year she can enjoy the New Year without having to worry a stray bullet will hit her house. "It doesn't matter if you're doing it in the air it's still going to hit something, even if it's a dog or a cat the bullet has to come down," she said.