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New Year Celebratory Gunfire In Fort Smith Damages Property

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fort Smith Police Department was busy on New Year’s Day dealing with reports of fireworks and gunshots going off within city limit...

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The Fort Smith Police Department was busy on New Year’s Day dealing with reports of fireworks and gunshots going off within city limits, which is illegal.

Some people even experienced near misses by stray bullets.

“It was not until the morning when we realized that there was a bullet impact on my brother-in-law's truck," said Mauricio Miciel.

Near Grand and O Streets a small indent on the hood of the truck is believed to be from a stray bullet.

According to police, before and after midnight they received 14 calls about fireworks and 14 reports of gunshots.

It’s against city ordinance to discharge a firearm within city limits and could result in a fine or other penalty.

“If people are concerned that their property was damaged over something to that effect we, by all means, want to hear from them because what we have there goes beyond celebratory gunfire. We’re talking property damage, criminal mischief, type territory at that point," said Aric Mitchell, Fort Smith Police Department Spokesperson.

One woman posted on Facebook that a bullet came through her ceiling and landed through a checkerboard table where her kid often sits, but like in the Miciel family’s case, no one was hurt.

“They were pretty upset at first but they were thankful that nobody got hurt but the impact is considerable. I’m sure it’s going to be a little over $500 to fix that damage," Miciel said.

According to the sheriff's office, there is no ordinance against celebratory gunfire in Sebastian County, so long as it’s done safely. The only exception is at Ben Geren Park.

Other cities also had similar incidents.

Van Buren Police only received one gunshot report, but about seven complaints about noise or fireworks.

Bentonville PD just had one fireworks call.

Fayetteville Police had three firework calls and eight gunshot calls, but no damages were reported in those cases.