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Phoenix Police: New Year's Eve Celebratory Gunfire Kills

Phoenix police are reminding New Year’s revelers to stay away from their guns.

In 1999, 14-year-old Shannon Smith was in her yard when a falling bullet hit and killed her. That led to a state law, known as Shannon’s Law, that makes it a felony to fire a gun within or into city limits. And as the New Year rolls around, police are stepping up public outreach to emphasize the danger of celebratory gunfire.

Phoenix police Sgt. Vince Lewis says from 2014 to 2015, the number of calls reporting gunfire the half hour before and after midnight has dropped about 18 percent.

“The decrease is a good sign and we hope that it has to do with our education. People are accepting the reality that random celebratory gunfire is not good," Lewis said.

In 2015, Phoenix police responded to a total of 19,000 calls of shots fired, of which New Year’s Eve only makes up a very small fraction.

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.