We know the Fourth of July is the time to celebrate our country's Declaration of Independence, which, of course, was inspired by the Revolutionary War, which, of course, involved lots and lots of shooting. Patriotism = Guns!
Unfortunately, one poor fellow found out the hard way that in contemporary times, Independence Day does not call for ceremonial bullet-shooting -- even when those bullets are directed toward the sky.
On the evening of July 4, Officer Jonathan Ambrose, on patrol in north St. Louis, observed five explosions that were not part of the city's fireworks display. Instead, they were coming from the gun of 25-year-old Damian Groves, who was firing bullets into the air near his Hyde Park home.
Groves was probably just having some fun. But the gun show earned him an arrest and a charge of Unlawful Use of Loaded Firearm/Projectile Weapon by Intoxicated Person, which is a Class D felony.
In the probable cause statement, Officer Ambrose testified: "I observed the defendant shoot approximately five shots into the air. When I detained the defendant I could smell a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, his eyes were glassy and watery, and he had a beer near him. The defendant admitted to me that he had been drinking."
Guns and beer and freedom: patriotic enthusiasm or dangerous lunacy?
We left a message for Groves to hear his thoughts on the matter, in case he happens to be out on bail. We'll update if he responds.