April 18, 2014

Guest Column: Neighbors troubled by pellet gun incident

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By Patricia Griffin

I write this letter regarding a serious matter of safety for all our neighborhoods. Please alert your community that there is an unsupervised child with access to a gun shooting at pets, wildlife and people. The Williston Police ask to be contacted immediately (878-6611) whenever gun shots are heard or a person is seen carrying a rifle in the area.

My neighbors and I often hear gunfire coming from the direction of the protected deer shed/wetland on the restricted access road between Wood Lily and Forest Run. Believe it or not, while this area of Williston is mapped as “restricted,” it is not illegal to discharge a bird gun. Families with children, walkers, runners, and people exercising their dogs go through there daily; it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt. On June 18, 2012 about 10:30 a.m., someone did.

That morning, my neighbor down the street reached over to pet a cat in her own driveway, and as she did so, she felt several pellets hit her. In the same instant, the cat vanished in a flash.

She looked up and glimpsed a youth (she guessed him to be about 10-12 years of age) standing with a rifle by the break-away gate on the Forest Run side. Naturally she yelled at him and he, of course, darted back through the woods. She thinks he might have been so intent on stalking the cat, he did not notice her there. Had she not been wearing sunglasses (there was a ping in the lens) she would have lost an eye; another pellet lodged in her face, bled profusely, and needed a surgeon to dig it out.

Photographs of the injury and the offending ammo were taken to the police department where she filed a report. The cat owner, concerned her pet was likewise shot, had him examined and X-rayed by a vet, costing hundreds of dollars to do so.

Perhaps the next logical step is to lobby for tighter controls regarding pellet gun use. If you support such a motion, please contact me at [email protected]

Patricia Griffin is a Williston resident

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