WNYT.com

Man who set off fireworks in crowd: "I didn't do nothing wrong"

Posted at: 07/05/2013 12:25 AM
Updated at: 07/05/2013 6:46 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

ALBANY -- The city man accused of setting off his own fireworks in the middle of the crowd at New York State's Fourth of July Celebration at Empire State Plaza on Thursday told NewsChannel 13 he did "nothing wrong."

State Police charged Keion J. Kirkley, 19, with second-degree reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of fireworks, a violation. He could face up to one year in prison, a fine, or probation if convicted.

"It wasn't nothing," Kirkley told NewsChannel 13 Friday. "I apologize if anybody got startled or anything. I didn't do nothing wrong. I just let off some fireworks."

Asked whether he was concerned about injuring other spectators, Kirkley said, "It's the fourth of July. I ain't mean nothing, that's all. I'm going back to sleep though."

Kirkley then walked back into his house.

The blasts happened during the grand finale, near entrance to the New York State Museum on Madison Ave. NewsChannel 13 employee Thomas Foglio heard a "loud boom" and saw terrified spectators fleeing the area. One person suffered a minor injury while running away, State Police said.

"You could hear a collective gasp and people were shocked," Foglio said. "Then it kind of turned into panic. You see people running, and that's when I was like, 'Uh oh, it's Boston again."

A spectator who captured the Albany blasts on camera and uploaded the video to YouTube also invoked the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three people and injured 264 on April 15.

"I have never been so scared in my life, as I believed it to be a terrorist bombing like what (happened) in Boston and that both my son and I were going to die," the user wrote in the video's description. "I could barely hear as my ears were ringing from the blast; this coupled with the stampeding masses made for a truly terrifying experience."

The user argued Kirkley should be charged with a felony. It was unclear why State Police opted for the misdemeanor charge, but a spokeswoman said the investigation was continuing.

Kirkley insisted he was responsible for only one of the two blasts audible on the video. He was due to appear in Albany Criminal Court on July 10.