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Boy, 9, Shot in Buena Park During 4th Festivities

Crime: Police are unsure if the incident was a deliberate act or celebratory gunfire.

July 05, 2002|JACK LEONARD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 9-year-old was shot and critically wounded in Buena Park late Thursday as he took part in a Fourth of July celebration in a crowded public park, police said.

The boy, who was struck once above the waist, was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange with a wound that could be life-threatening, said Police Lt. Corey Sianez.

The boy was at Boisseranc Park on Dale Street, north of La Palma Avenue, celebrating with thousands, when he was shot about 9 p.m., Sianez said.

Sianez said police officers were unsure who fired the shot or whether the boy was the victim of celebratory gunfire into the air.

"There's so many fireworks going on nobody would be able to distinguish a gunshot," Sianez said.

In recent days, police departments across the state stepped up warnings about the dangers of firing guns into the air to celebrate Independence Day.

The Los Angeles Police Department launched a campaign asking residents to call police if they see people shooting into the air.

Since 1985, at least 40 people in Los Angeles County have been killed by bullets fired in celebration on New Year's Eve and the Fourth of July.

Three years ago, 9-year-old Brian Perez was killed during Independence Day celebrations in Los Angeles when a bullet fired into the air struck him in the head as he played with friends.

When a bullet is fired into the air, a typical slug leaving the bullet casing climbs at a velocity of about 2,700 feet per second and can soar as high as two miles.

It can stay in the air more than a minute before falling to earth.

Depending on the slug's orientation and weight, the speed of descent can vary from 300 to 700 feet per second, Los Angeles police said.

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