Po­lice: use care in July 4 hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions

The Covington News - - Front page - By Am­ber Pittman apittman@cov­news.com

Mar­quel Peters was just 4-years-old when a cel­e­bra­tory bul­let came through the roof of his church and killed him. If po­lice chief Stacey Cot­ton has any­thing to say about it, such a tragedy isn't go­ing to hap­pen in New­ton County.

Cot­ton is urg­ing res­i­dents to think be­fore they act dur­ing Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tions so that New­ton County doesn't have to mourn some­one the way DeKalb County did with Mar­quel.

“A fun af­ter­noon can turn into a tragedy if peo­ple don't use their heads,” he said. “We ac­tu­ally had a bul­let

come through the roof of a house on New Year's Eve and land in the chair where some­one would nor­mally have been sitting if they weren't out at the time.”

He asked any­one who sees cel­e­bra­tory shoot­ing to get a de­scrip­tion or name of the per­son and call 911, be­cause, typ­i­cally, some­one will shoot and then run in­side and hide their gun. By the time of­fi­cers get to the scene, the shooter is gone. If po­lice catch the per­son do­ing the shoot­ing, Cot­ton says they will be cited.

Cot­ton is also plead­ing with res­i­dents not to drink and drive and not to drink and go swim­ming or boat­ing. Al­co­hol is not per­mit­ted at the fire­works show on the square, and there will be plenty of of­fi­cers on hand to make sure that any­one with al­co­hol will be cited.

Dry con­di­tions per­sist in the city and county de­spite sev­eral quick af­ter­noon show­ers. Cot­ton said peo­ple light­ing fire­works at home should be mind­ful dry con­di­tions. He also said that if fire­works be­ing used in the city are not legal in the state, peo­ple set­ting them off will face charges.

“ We'll have a good con­tin­gent of pub­lic safety out at the July 3 event on the square with mu­sic start­ing around 3 p. m. and fire­works later,” he said. “ We want to en­cour­age ev­ery­body to come out for that, and they can do that know­ing they will be safe and se­cure and have a good time in the city.”

The square will be blocked off and traf­fic is ex­pected, but Cot­ton feels that won't dampen the fun one bit. Along with sitting on the square, peo­ple can park in the park­ing lots along U. S. 278 and Pace Street and watch the fire­works with­out any prob­lem.

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