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Celebratory gunfire rings out in Kansas City during New Year’s

January 02, 2017
KSHB, Kansas City

Video: Celebratory gunshots scare Kansas City families

As Kansas City rang in the New Year, police say hundreds of stray bullets were fired into the air.

One of the bullets pierced through Stephanie Swanson’s glass sliding door in her Hyde Park home.

“We heard a crash, we heard a window break,” the mother of three told 41 Action News.

Swanson’s husband discovered their backdoor shattered and a bullet on their porch.

Police believe someone celebrating the New Year fired a celebratory shot into the air five or six blocks from their home.

“Instead of just dealing with a broken window we could have been dealing with a hospital right now or something worse,” Swanson said.

Her three young children were sleeping upstairs at the time.

The Swanson family weren’t the only ones hearing the gunfire.

 

Gretchen Miles recorded a video on her cellphone of the sound of gunfire. Miles told 41 Action News, it started at 11 p.m. but escalated dramatically after midnight.

“[It was] non-stop. Guns on top of guns on top of guns,” Miles said. “It was probably the worst that I’ve heard since I’ve lived here.”

Kansas City police tell 41 Action News, 911 dispatchers received 156 calls in regard to the sound of gunshots.

The Kansas City Police Department does monitor celebratory gunshots using technology called ShotSpotter. The gunshot detection system covers a 3.55-square-mile area and records both the sound and location of the gunshot.

The system works by recording and assessing the sound. If the sound is verified as a probable gunshot, the system alerts police dispatchers who can pull up the exact location on a map.

Kansas City police tell 41 Action News the number of rounds fired this New Year’s Eve was actually lower than last year.

However, police say the average number of rounds fired per incident is about the same— 7 rounds per incident.

“We know that crime happens in the city so you can always take precautions but this isn’t crime. This is people making choices, not realizing the impact they have on other people around them,” said Swanson.