Fireworks Cause Concerns for Police Officers

6 years 2 weeks 3 days ago Friday, June 27 2014 Jun 27, 2014 Friday, June 27, 2014 2:34:00 PM CDT June 27, 2014 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The Boone County Sheriff's Office said Friday the shots fired incident in Casey's General Store parking lot at El Chaparral and Broadway, turned out to be an incident involving fireworks.

Officials said the incident is rare, but more likely to happen during firework season, when neighbors are out shooting them.

Detective Thomas O'Sullivan said, "If you hear something and you're not sure if it's a gunshot or fireworks, call 911. Let us come out and make that determination."

This comes after a string of shots-fired incidents in recent days in and around Columbia. Detective O'Sullivan said it's not necessarily common to see more shots-fired incidents this time of year, but his office has seen an increase in those types of calls the last five years. 

Sgt. Bob Dochler with the Columbia Police Department however, said he sees an increase in shots fired calls around the Fourth of July holiday. 

"We do receive a fair number of shots fired calls that turn out to be fireworks calls," Dochler said in an email.

The Columbia Police Department responded to 299 shots-fired calls from June 27 to July 5, 2013. 

Dochler said residents should call police anytime they hear something like a gunshot that concerns them. He said he discourages anyone from making a shots fired report if they know the source was fireworks, in hopes of a faster response. 

Bob Gerau, owner of "Bob's Fireworks," said fireworks can make for a very positive experience, as long as people are safe with them.

"You come in with mom and dad and the kids, and they're going to go out together and shoot them. Kids are jumping with joy because they're picking out fireworks," Gerau said. 

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