If you plan to ring in the New Year with a celebratory gunshot into the sky, Columbus Police have a word for you: Don’t. They are re-launching a city wide campaign in hopes of stopping people from shooting their guns into the air as they welcome the New Year.
For one Columbus woman, the plea- and the pain- are very personal.
It was supposed to be a day of celebration and fun with her friends. Jasmine Coleman-Sammur was 16-years-old.
It was Red White and Boom 2009, but she remembers it like it was yesterday. "I was standing there, we were just talking, and I just felt this pain," she said. "Not like a pain, but a burning sensation."
It was in her right breast. She says it was 30 minutes before she realized how serious it was. "I just kept feeling a burning pain and I was like, ‘Oh my God what is this?’ And I just kept rubbing and rubbing. I thought it was like a bug or something. And my friend was like, ‘You have a hole in your shirt.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ Then I looked down and I see the hole, and I look in my other shirt and then I just see a whole bunch of blood. It was so scary."
She was rushed to the hospital, where an X-ray revealed the source of her pain. "I saw a little bullet! I was so scared. I was like, ‘What is that?’"
Police say it was the result of an unknown person pulling a trigger from an unknown location, someone's idea of a way to ring in the Fourth of July. Police say it's also a problem at New Year's.
"It is dangerous," said Columbus Police Commander Robert Strausbaugh. "It can cost somebody their life. Do not do it. If you do it, be advised we will use all of our resources to find out who you are and prosecute you."
It's a message police and Central Ohio church pastors are taking to the community through billboards and personal pleas.
For Jasmine, the plea- and the pain- are very personal. She hopes her story will serve as a warning. "What goes up must come down," she said. "You just never know where it's gonna come down at. You don't know if it's gonna land in someone's house, in somebody. It could be anywhere. You just never know. It's not safe."
The message "Stop Celebratory Gunfire" will run on 20 of Clear Channel’s digital billboards throughout the city, more than last year. Between all of them, Clear Channel says the message will run 25,000 times a day.