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Celebratory gunfire hits 10-year-old on New Year’s Eve in New Orleans, police say

New Orleans Police Department (New Orleans CBD/Wikicommons)

A 10-year-old Louisiana boy is expected to be OK after he was struck by celebratory gunfire on New Year’s Eve, multiple news outlets report.

Fabian Rivera was left with a wounded cheek when a bullet fell from the sky, hitting him just above the mouth before exiting through his neck, according to WWL-TV.

The shooting also cost him two teeth.

Rivera was on his swing watching fireworks from the backyard of his home in New Orleans East when he was struck just after 10 p.m., relatives told WDSU. His cousin Diana Lopez said the sound of gunfire was obscured by the boom of the fireworks. She recalled that her cousin came crying to her, covered in blood.

“We thought it was a firework until we saw the shot,” Lopez told the news station. “We got scared and called the police.”

Rivera was treated at a hospital and is recovering, NOLA.com reported, citing police. The New Orleans Police Department is investigating the shooting, along with at least two other New Year’s Eve incidents involving guns.

McClatchy News reached out to authorities for an update Jan. 3 and was awaiting a response.

Reports of celebratory gunfire typically spike around July 4 and New Year’s Eve celebrations. The practice is illegal in several states, however, and experts warn the tradition can lead to serious injury or death.

Bullets that are fired straight into the air can fall back to Earth up to 2 miles away, according to a 2020 Forbes report, and can be lethal if they have ”enough speed to break the skin” on their way down.

“I felt so bad that they would shoot, because it almost took his life,” Rivera’s cousin told WDSU. “It can happen to other people, and people can die from it.”

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