Preparations are underway in Brandemill for this year's 4th of July fireworks, but you can expect some changes. Especially after last year's tragic death of Brendon Mackey, a young boy killed by celebratory gunfire.
About a year ago, seven-year-old Brendon Mackey was killed; investigators say they have exhausted all leads in the case but continue to dig as Chesterfield Police take on the difficult task of enforcing gunfire in the air.
Major Kevin Smith was one of the first officers on scene when Brendon Mackey was killed.
"I think it had a lot of people in shock," Major Smith reflects. "How could this happen on a night we're supposed to celebrate independence? A little innocent boy, probably all happy to see the fireworks with his dad, and how does this end up?"
Those fireworks will happen again this year. Though police have a patrol plan, Smith says gunfire in the air is a hard thing to enforce.
"It's difficult to catch people," Major Smith says. "I'll tell you that right now. But we're committed, more than ever, after the death of Brendon, to catch the people doing this."
Because of that, some parents, like Rebecca Caffrey with Moms Demand Action, aren't willing to take the risk of watching fireworks outside on the fourth.
"There's probably still going to be a lot of celebratory gunfire on this holiday. And I don't feel comfortable being out in that environment," says Caffrey.
Caffrey says other parents are doing the same. Caffrey worked to help pass Brendon's Law, which went into effect Tuesday. The new law makes it a felony to fire a gun in the air.
In the meantime, investigators have followed more than 100 leads that have all dried up, but hope the anniversary of Brendon's death could lead to some more.
Chesterfield Police Captain Chris Hensley remains hopeful.
"One of our theories too, is that these people could be out of town. And with the holiday, they're back in town visiting family and friends."
If you have any information that could help investigators, contact Chesterfield Police at 804-748-1000.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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