Despite information campaigns and laws against the practice, New Year’s revelers continue the tradition of firing guns at the stroke of midnight. And if you don’t have a gun, police in Sinaloa will lend you one.
The practice proved fatal for a seven-year-old girl in Oaxaca on Monday night after she was struck by a stray New Year’s bullet. Vivian Michelle of Santa María Coyotepec died this morning in a Oaxaca hospital.
She and her family had traveled from their home outside Oaxaca city to spend the Christmas vacation in Santa María Petapa in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Vivian and her family were seated outdoors and preparing to enjoy a New Year’s Eve dinner when she appeared to faint.
Her father discovered a small wound in the child’s head and she was taken to a hospital in Matías Romero and later airlifted to Mexico City, but doctors were unable to save her.
At about the same time that Vivian was hit, two municipal police officers in Culiacán, Sinaloa, allegedly loaned an automatic rifle to a New Year’s reveler so he could join the fun and fire shots into the air.
The two are under investigation after a video of the incident surfaced.
In an effort to put an end to New Year’s shooting, the state government had launched an ad campaign to inform the public of the dangers of using firearms for celebratory purposes but it appears the two officers did not see it.
After the video appeared they were relieved of their weapons and put under investigation.
Depending on the results, the two could be subject to a formal investigation by the state Attorney General’s office.
Police chief Óscar Guinto Marmolejo said that the two officers have over 10 years’ experience and “should know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
The identity of the civilian who fired the rifle is unknown.
At least three people were injured by stray bullets during the New Year’s celebrations last year.