- Associated Press - Monday, December 28, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - Sandra Latham was slain in 1997 when a stray bullet struck her as she sat in the dining room of her Detroit home on New Year’s Eve.

Police officials and community leaders have worked ever since to convince some in Detroit of the dangers in the unwritten tradition of firing guns skyward to celebrate the coming year.

With Jan. 1, 2017 just days away, they announced the annual “Ring in the New Year with a Bell, Not a Bang” campaign.

“It’s a valiant effort and one that is definitely worthwhile as we attempt to make sure that no one dies again on New Year’s Eve as a result of a shooting,” current Wayne County sheriff and former Detroit Police Chief Benny Napoleon said Monday at a news conference.

“When you shoot a projectile up into the air, it absolutely comes down,” Napoleon said. “And it comes down with a velocity that can kill.”

The Rev. Nicholas Hood III started the effort after Latham’s death.

Dantay Latham, 29, said his grandmother’s death still haunts him, The Detroit News reported from Monday’s news conference.

“It’s something that I’ll never erase from my mind. It changed my entire life,” he added. “She got shot, stood up and fell down to the ground. I think about my grandmother every day. I miss her so much. It still hurts.”

Firing a gun skyward in Detroit is a misdemeanor, according to Napoleon.

Police have been directed to arrest anyone caught shooting into the air Thursday night and Friday morning, he said.

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