With a handful of reports of celebratory gunfire around the city in the first few minutes of Christmas Day, Los Angeles police and sheriff’s deputies Monday warned people about shooting into the air to ring in the new year.

Sheriff Lee Baca and LAPD Assistant Chief Jo MacArthur held a 10 a.m. news conference at Los Angeles police headquarters to talk about the problem.

Shooting into the air can be deadly. Those caught face a possible felony and up to a year in prison.

In Atlanta last year, a 4-year-old boy was killed by a falling bullet on New Year’s Eve.

Los Angeles has come a long way since the 1990s. In 1998, two people were killed by falling bullets on New Year’s Day and, on July 4, 1999, a 9-year- old boy on East 75th Street was killed by one.

A few years ago, the sheriff’s department tried wiring telephone poles with microphones to pinpoint the source of gunfire, but the method turned out to be a disappointment.

— DP

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