Caught on camera: Gunfire erupts in St. Louis on NYE

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by Maggie Crane / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 11:46 AM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- In exclusive video taken on New Year's Eve and given to News 4, you can hear dozens of gunshots going off.  At least one of those bullets that was fired off is believed to have landed inside a woman's apartment.

 It shines new light on gun play in the city, which has become the city's top crime-fighting goal for 2013.
 
The idea is to follow people who use guns to commit crimes and illegally carry weapons in the city from the time police arrest them until they see a judge.  Police believe it will make for tougher sentences for gun-toting criminals, and in turn, make our streets safer.
 
Lovell Pattin spent New Year's Eve in the hospital recovering from heart surgery.  She came home to a shattered window on the third floor of her senior apartment complex.
 
"I guess it was a stray bullet," Pattin said.  "I guess they shot up and it came down or something."
 
A police officer on patrol in North St. Louis on New Year's Eve recorded a four-minute video beginning at midnight in which you here several volleys of gunshots.  The department has long said that celebrating with guns is a major problem with the city.  It launched campaigns called "What Goes Up, Must Come Down" and "Fun Without Guns," but the message clearly didn't make it to everyone.
 
"I got real scared," Pattin said when her son found the bullet that shattered her window lodged in the kitchen wall.  "I said 'it could have got me.'"
 
Guns and gun violence top the city's crime-fighting goals for 2013 to help protect victims like Lovell.  Police and prosecutors are now working with local judges to keep better tabs on violent offenders.  They want to create a sort of "gun docket" where cases of gun violence will be tried in a separate court to help speed up prosecution and to identify repeat offenders more quickly.
 
"If you commit a crime in the City of St. Louis, there's going to be a significant consequence, significant punishment associated with that," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said.  "And that's how we do it -- identify those people who offend frequently and making sure there are consequences."
 
A committee made up of police, prosecutors and judges meets next week to continue talks about putting a gun docket in the courts.

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