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Man accidentally shoots himself while celebrating New Year's
PORT ARTHUR - by Lauren Huet
Some people ring in the New Year with fireworks, others raise a glass of champagne, a few pick up a gun in what has become a dangerous holiday tradition.
Police say a Port Arthur man celebrating New Year's fired several rounds into the ground, and ended up shooting himself in the right ankle. Investigators tell us the man fired several rounds with a medium to small caliber pistol into the ground outside his home in the 400 block of Duff Drive. The 39-year-old ended up in the St. Mary's Hospital Emergency Room. Police say he appeared to be intoxicated, and when they spoke with him at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, he admitted firing the shots.
"It was a significant injury on his ankle," said Sergeant Scott Gaspard with the Port Arthur Police Department. "The doctors that examined him said it was not going to be life threatening, and they didn't think there was going to be permanent damage. My guess is he'll have a limp for the rest of his life to remember it."
Gaspard says it's common for people to fire guns during celebrations like New Year's, but it's illegal to fire a gun "recklessly" inside city limits. If police hear gunfire, they'll try to find the source.
"Being law enforcement, when we hear the firecrackers and fireworks, we can tell that there's gunfire mixed in," said Gaspard. "A lot of time you can't tell where the gunfire is coming from. We do know it happens. It's common, but it's very uncommon for there to be accidents, which is a lucky thing."
Police haven't filed charges against the man. Gaspard says it's a misdemeanor to fire a gun into the ground. It could be a misdemeanor or a felony to fire a gun into the air, depending on how many people are around. Falling bullets have injured and even killed people on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Gaspard says it's a felony to fire a gun in a direction where someone could be standing.
"[It's] never a good idea to have a weapon when you're not trained with it," said Gaspard. "And when you're intoxicated you should never have a weapon."