ATLANTA – A family bringing in the new year ended its celebration in horror.
Police said someone shot a 9-year-old boy as he set off fireworks with his family.
It happened just after midnight in the 100 block of Griffin Street in northwest Atlanta.
Police believe the child may have been hit by celebratory gunfire.
Police told Channel 2’s Darryn Moore the boy was in the front yard with his parents, setting off fireworks when he was hurt.
He was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, where he underwent surgery Tuesday morning. Staff at the hospital were able to determine that the child was hit by gunfire, police said.
Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes spoke to Charles Malachi, a neighbor, who said celebratory gunfire is normal where he lives and that dozens of people were shooting guns on New Year’s Eve.
“Personally, I see nothing wrong with it,” he said. “It’s tragic what happened but, you know, I think gunfire and New Year’s bringing it in, it’s cultural. It’s part of our culture but the sad thing is bullets have no name.”
Malachi said celebratory gunfire started on the weekend before New Year’s Eve. He said someone shot him in the arm.
“I don’t know who did it. It was pretty much a shot in the dark,” he said.
He knows that his injury could’ve been much worse
“It could’ve but I’m blessed, and that kid is blessed as well,” he said.
Police are working to identify the shooter.
They said the boy was alert and talking before he went into surgery.