By The Star Staff
For 20 consecutive years, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development and the island Public Housing Administration have joined forces with the Manuel A. Pérez residential community and other government agencies to raise awareness about celebratory gunfire into the air.
“Once again, we join the demand that arises from the public housing communities to raise awareness of the danger of gunshots in the air and the need that we all have to live in peace and enjoy Christmas without repeating one more tragedy as a result of this practice,” Public Housing Administrator Alejandro Salgado Colón said.
A caravan, which is being organized by Manuel A. Pérez residential complex community leader Roberto “Papo Christian” Pérez in collaboration with the Department of Public Safety and the Puerto Rico Police Bureau, and is part of the public policy of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, will tour various communities in San Juan with the same call against shots fired into the air.
Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said “it is important to continue carrying this message so that Puerto Rico does not suffer the loss of a life as a result of a stray bullet again.”
“This demand must be replicated not only in public housing; this is a message that has to be heard throughout Puerto Rico,” he added.
The effort emerged after an increase in New Year’s Eve fatalities caused by stray bullets, and since its inception in 2004, two deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico, with Karla Michelle Negrón Vélez being the last victim in 2011.
At a press conference, in which the director of the Governor’s Office, Caridad Pierluisi; Rodríguez, the Housing chief; Salgado, the public housing administrator; the commissioner of the Police Bureau, Antonio López; the mayor of San Juan, Miguel Romero; Sens. Juan Oscar Morales and Nitza Morán; and Reps. Victor Parés and José “Cheito” Hernández; it was announced that the motto of the caravan will be “Don’t Take My Life with a Stray Bullet,” and it will take place this Friday, Dec. 1 at 8 a.m., when it will depart from the community center of the Manuel A. Pérez residential complex.