Last week, St. Louis New Years Eve revelers hit the town, dressed to the nines with champagne aspirations, but most would greet the first light 2010 with splitting hangovers and foggy recollections of bad decisions.
But, hey, at least they didn't wind up handcuffed to a hospital bed, riddled with bullets, like one south city carouser
This has to be the strangest incident of the 206 calls to St. Louis police between 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve and 2 a.m. on New Year's Day, all of which were related to gun shots.
Perhaps disappointed with anemic party poppers
, a 22-year-old man stepped out of his home on the 4600 block of Idaho Avenue to ring in the new year with something a bit more energetic -- a handgun.
Neighbors said the man fired at least six rounds into the air. The police showed up quickly thereafter.
At 12:01 a.m., two uniformed police arrived at the house responding to
a "shots fired" call. The suspect was coming out of the back door when
the officers told him to drop the gun.
Instead, the man opened fire at the police, who fired back and hit the man twice: once in the hand and once in the torso, according to reports
. Another bullet
caused a minor cut as it grazed his head.
When the police entered the man's home, several people bolted out of
another door, leaving behind a four-year-old boy. In the confusion, the
child stepped out into the street and was hit by police car arriving at
The toddler suffered only minor injuries; while the shooter was taken to the hospital (reports state he is in stable condition.) Neither officer was hit.
The shooter must have forgotten fundamental physics
-- what comes up, must come down.
It's a simple principle that somehow fails to enter the minds of some
overly enthusiastic celebrants before they head out to the front lawn
to send some parting shots at the previous year.
A .22 Long Rifle round
(used primarily for target practice and pest
control) fired horizontally, can travel a mile and a half if its path is
uninterrupted and wind conditions are favorable. Some ammunition can
travel up to five miles. Of course, the effectiveness of these rounds
is much shorter than their total possible distance, with only
high-powered rifle rounds capable of delivering a lethal blow at greater
But, when gravity factors into the equation, bullets fired into the air
can return to earth with devastating speed
. After the initial burst
from ignited powder, bullets slow down due to wind resistance and
gravity. If that bullet is fired at an upward angle, though, the
initial energy gets a gravitational boost as it hits the apex of its
arc and begins to fall.
In fact, injuries from falling bullets have been shown to have higher
mortality rates than injuries sustained in typical gun shot wounds. A
study conducted by the Department of Emergency Medicine at King/Drew
Medical Center in Los Angeles found that falling bullet injuries are
fatal in 32 percent of cases
while "normal" gunshot wounds only kill
two to six percent of the time.
While the events on the south side failed to hurt anybody beyond the
site of the shootout, celebratory gunfire killed a four-year-old boy in
suburban Georgia. Marquel Peters
was attending a church service when a
bullet fell through the roof, striking him in the head.