GREENSBORO, N.C. — July 4th celebrations are likely going to be self-initiated this year.
That means backyard fireworks and unfortunately, some people firing guns as a form of celebration.
While North Carolinians still remain under the Safer at Home Order, some of those dangers have already begun.
Greensboro police say they’ve received 18 fireworks calls and 73 discharge of a firearm calls since June 26.
Both are dangerous and also illegal in city limits.
On a warm June evening, Todd Gibbs and his wife decided to spend some time outdoors.
“We were just sitting out here on the patio watching TV and relaxing,” Gibbs said. “Then we heard something ricocheting. It sounded like it hit the table.”
The couple jumped up and ran inside of their home.
Minutes later, they came outside to see what had happened.
“My wife noticed a bullet which happened to be right here,” Gibbs said, pointing to where the bullet was.
The bullet landed inches away from where he was sitting.
“It gives you an eerie feeling to see how close, not exaggerating anything, but that bullet could have struck me or it could have struck my wife,” he said.
Gibbs said Greensboro police told the couple that someone was likely firing a gun straight into the air.
“Further into the county you get, you typically see it happen more often,” said Officer Larry Roberts, the community resource officer for Greensboro police.
It also does happen within city limits. Calls tend to increase at certain times of the year.
“Fourth of July and New Year’s we typically see a spike of people trying to discharge firearms,” Roberts said. “That’s reckless.”
Reckless and dangerous, especially when people are firing shots in the air.
“You can injure somebody. You can kill somebody. That bullet goes in the air, it has to come back down,” Gibbs said. “Lord knows, you can traumatize someone as well. We were traumatized. “
Greensboro police say people should never hesitate to call them if they hear what they believe is gunshots.
While it could be fireworks or something else, it’s always better to err on the side of caution.