Thursday, January 26, 2012
Injunction filed against Garland gun range by Rowlett
There are have been three incidents of bullets hitting nearby homes in the past two years.
A gun range in the city of Garland is in the crosshairs of the city of Rowlett after three incidents involving bullets endangering the lives of its residents have occurred within the last two years.
“We have filed for a petition for injunction against the gun range,” said Lynda Humble, city manager. “We filed the petition on Thursday and the gun range owner, James Day, was served at his home on Friday. We have moved very quickly and aggressively to make it happen.”
Rowlett police were called to two homes on Jan. 16 after homeowners complained their homes were hit by bullets. The first complaint was called in at approximately 7:03 p.m. for a residence in the 3000 block of Duchess Way and the second at 7:32 p.m. for a residence in the 3200 block of Fair Oaks Drive.
According to Lt. David Nabors, head of the criminal investigations division for the Rowlett Police Department, the bullets recovered were from a high-powered rifle. He said that the bullets recovered could have easily traveled the distance from the gun range to the homes they struck.
“They still had enough velocity to penetrate several walls within the residence,” Nabors said.
The two incidents last week are the second and third within the last two years. In June 2010, Rowlett resident Michael Domin was injured when a bullet struck him while he was working in his backyard. At the time of that incident, two additional bullets were recovered from his residence. Domin told emergency personnel that it felt like he had been shot. He stated that at the time of the incident he was alone in his yard and had not had any altercation with anyone. When medical personnel arrived at the scene they found that Domin had a gunshot wound to the back. He was transported by ambulance to Medical Center of Plano where he underwent immediate surgery.
“Essentially the way the city is viewing this is that when Michael Domin was injured it was an isolated incident. All of the information from the investigation came back inconclusive,” Humble said. “In the most recent incidents we had bullets entering homes. Our residents ought to feel safe in their homes. They should not have to worry about being struck by a bullet while they are sitting in their easy-chair watching television.”
The city is taking action to prevent any future incidents from occurring. It has filed an injunction on behalf of Janine and David Bowman, whose home was struck last week, seeking to have the Garland Public Shooting Range shutdown until it can determine the cause of the stray bullets and proper corrective action can be taken to avoid future issues.
The city believes there is enough evidence to suggest the bullets came from the gun range.
“In all likelihood they are coming from the gun range,” Humble said. “Our number one concern here is public safety. Our residents deserve to feel safe in their homes. That cannot happen when we have bullets entering exterior walls. We filed the injunction in hopes that the judge will require Mr. Day to operate a safe gun range that does not endanger Rowlett residents. This is not an effort to put him out of business; it’s truly a public safety issue.”
A hearing on the injunction is scheduled in the 95th District Court in Dallas on Feb. 7.
“We would hope to have the entire neighborhood present at the hearing to show the judge the seriousness of their concerns,” Humble said.
The city is also trying to get the help of the state to ensure public safety as well. Humble said that the Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel has been in contact with the attorney general’s office and plans to meet with them about picking up the legal suit against the gun range on behalf of the residents of Rowlett.
“Mayor Gottel contacted our legislative delegation to get us a meeting with the attorney general in hopes they will pick this suit up,” Humble said.”If the attorney general picks up the case then that will carry some significant weight and show the seriousness of the situation.”
The city itself cannot be named in the suit because of Senate Bill No. 766 that was passed during the last legislative session. It prohibits cities from suing gun ranges but allows for private individuals whose property lies within the affected area or the attorney general to file a lawsuit against them.
“We have asked some residents in the neighborhood if they wanted to be involved in the suit against the gun range and the Bowmans agreed to be named as the plaintiffs,” Humble said. “Their home was one of the ones struck by bullets last week. One landed in their child’s bedroom so you can only imagine what might have happened had their child been in there.”
Rowlett police are still investigating the incidents to determine the definite origin of the bullets and how the incidents occurred. Anyone with information in these incidents is asked to contact the Rowlett Police Department criminal investigations division at 972-412-6215.
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