Security, celebratory gunfire concerns ahead of New Year’s Eve celebration

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Unlucky and unlikely, in recent years more than a handful of people have left downtown parties the victims of gunshots.  

Tuesday night, public and private security are doing everything they can to protect people. As in most years, there will be additional officers in Nashville. But in some cases, there’s not much they can do, when dealing with errant gunfire.

It’s rare but it happens, celebratory gunfire with no intended target can take aim and be gravely serious.  

“It’s reckless in all regards to point a firearm randomly in the air and discharge it,” said firearms instructor, Bobby Curlee.  

Firearms safety, security experts and police all agree on this one, yet stunningly it still happens. And people are being shot, often on holidays like New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July.  

“We gave God thanks after that happened, we were just like thank you Jesus,” said one victim’s family member.    

This is what happened. Exactly one year ago a gunshot pushed through an Antioch roof, hitting a 70-year-old grandmother in her shoulder.   

Also in Nashville, in 2018, three people were hit downtown including a tourist visiting from California.  

I was extremely lucky where I got hit,” he said. “Another foot here or there and it could’ve been a whole lot worse.”  

A .22-millimeter bullet fired at a 45-degree angle can travel up to a mile. While it loses speed going up, it gains speed hurling back toward earth, according to the CDC, at more than 200 miles per hour.    

“We’re going to be all-hands-on-deck, which means everybody works,” said Mark Byrne.  

Public and private security is already ramped up on Broadway. Byrne, head of security at Tootsie’s, says additional staff is necessary because of the sheer number of people.  And they want to assure locals and visitors, despite recent violence, here, they’ll be safe.  

“As downtown goes, so goes our city,” Byrne said.  “We can’t afford to have any problems in downtown. We can sure strive towards that.”  

Metro police have two over-staffed command centers ready for New Year’s Eve, one on Broadway and the other at Bicentennial Park. 

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