Sangamon County sheriff’s deputy recalls shotgun pellets raining down onto the hood of his patrol car. Springfield police officers are encouraged to keep Kevlar helmets in their cars, just in case. Right after midnight, “all you hear is gunshots,” a resident says. New Year’s Eve in Springfield — it’s like a war zone, they say.
Firing gunshots into the air at midnight, and apparently for hours afterward, is a time-honored tradition for some city residents. But authorities say it’s illegal, and it has led to people being injured and even killed.
“People seem to think it’s OK to step out and fire a weapon into the air to celebrate the new year,” said Sangamon County sheriff’s Capt. Jack Campbell.
Perhaps I have heard gunshots in the past and assumed they were just fireworks, but I honestly had no idea this went on in Springfield, at least not to this extent. I’m also assuming maybe this is more of a “tradition” in some neighborhoods than others.