Published December 31, 2003
| Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA – A man who trumpeted the arrival of 2003 by firing a gun into the air outside the home where he was under house arrest was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison Wednesday.
Luis Otero received his sentence as Philadelphia (search) police and prosecutors rolled out an annual effort to halt a dangerous New Year's Eve tradition: celebratory gunfire.
"It's a huge problem," said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.
At a news conference Tuesday, authorities were joined by a 16-year-old boy whose brain was damaged by a stray bullet that hit him on New Year's Eve 1998.
Otero was arrested in the waning minutes of 2002 when a police unit on the lookout for shooters saw him firing from the front porch of the home where he was under house arrest on a drug charge, Stollsteimer said.
Otero pleaded guilty in July to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Phone calls to the office of Otero's attorney went unanswered Wednesday.