Oxford lake fireworks

A still image taken from video of unauthorized fireworks exploding July 4 at Oxford Lake Park.

Oxford police are looking for three people suspected of illegally shooting their own fireworks at the city’s Freedom Festival in an incident that was caught on security cameras at Oxford Lake Park.

Police on Thursday released video showing fireworks going off in a parking lot near a parked pickup at the park sometime after dark on July 4.

Police are asking anyone who can identify the men in the video to call them at 256-835-6122.

“We’d like to find the guy with a bun on his head and the pink backpack,” said Capt. L.G. Owens.

The video shows three people – the pink-backpack carrier, someone in a blue shirt and blue pants and a blurrier figure – standing near the spot where a firework explodes. Later in the video, another firework goes off next to a nearby truck.

Owens said police are not aware of anyone being harmed in the incident. If arrested, Owens said, the people in the video would likely be charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor.

He said police began reviewing video from the park in response to a stream of social media comments about an alleged fireworks incident at the park.

Last week, the television station ABC 33/40 carried an interview with a man using an apparent alias who reported having to protect his family from exploding fireworks. The Star’s attempts to reach the man were unsuccessful. In a video on Facebook, the man asked people to contact him with reports about the incident, so he could report them to Oxford police.

Owens told The Star over the weekend that no one had contacted Oxford police directly to file a report on the incident. 

That was still the case Friday morning, more than a week after Independence Day and about 12 hours after police released their video, according to Owens.

“We’re just seeing bits and pieces online,” he said. “This is what happens when you don’t come to us and make a report.”

Oxford at one time allowed personal use of fireworks at the July 4 event, Owens said. The city ended that practice a few years ago, Owens said, because some festival attendees were holding “bottle rocket wars.” He said fireworks incidents still happen but he wasn’t aware of any arrests in those incidents.

He said the city also sometimes gets complaints about fireworks set off by residents along McCullars Lane, next to the park, during the event.

Owens noted that those residents are on private property and aren’t subject to the fireworks ban.

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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