Hillsborough deputies have new tool to locate celebratory gunfire this Fourth of July

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — 4th of July fireworks shows are a summertime favorite. But, often times celebratory gunfire gets thrown into the mix. It’s something that has killed people in the past. Now, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is using a tool called ShotSpotter to help keep everyone safe over the holiday.

In the last few years, Tampa Bay has had a number of cases where people have been hurt of even killed by celebratory gunfire during holiday celebrations.

It happened to Richard Smeraldo a few years ago. “It was like getting hit with a baseball bat on my nose. That’s what It felt like. I didn’t know what happened,” he says.

He walked away with just a banged up nose, but for others like Diego Duran the injuries were much worse.  He was in his own yard, watching fireworks when a stray bullet hit the top of his head. He spent weeks in a coma followed by a difficult recovery.

Now, Hillsborough County has a strict warning for those who choose to celebrate with the illegal gunfire.

“Oh, you certainly can get arrested depending on the severity of it. It’s illegal to fire firearms when it endangers others,” says Major David Fleet with District 1 of HCSO.

Using a tool called ShotSpotter, deputies can find exactly where that shooter is. This solution provides real-time gunshot location data, enabling informed decisions for faster and more accurate emergency response, while improving intelligence and increasing first responder safety.

The ShotSpotter gunfire alert data and intelligence also provides the sheriff’s office with more forensic evidence leading to more thorough investigations and increased prosecutions for gun-related crime, in addition to enhancing crime analysis and data-driven policing capabilities, helping improve public safety and security.

“If people are going outside to shoot their firearms up in the air, we’re going to know about it, we’re gonna know about it quickly, we’re gonna come and if we can we are going to arrest those who are firing the guns that way,” says Maj. Fleet.




WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s