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Stray bullets from neighbor's shooting range damage Will County home

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Will County family says they are terrified after stray bullets from a nearby gun range damaged their home.

One bullet crashed through a window and into a bedroom wall where a teenage son was sleeping.

The home is near a shooting range in Green Garden Township, near Monee, in unincorporated Will County.

The stray bullets came from a shooting event that was advertised on the Internet. The event took place in the backyard of a home that has a shooting range.

The Gaskin family says such events should never be allowed so close to a subdivision. The Gaskins say they are lucky no one was killed.

Surrounded by cornfields, the Gaskin family moved to the country so their four boys would have room to play. What the Gaskins didn't expect way out in unincorporated Will County was a bullet hole in their house.

"One of them pierced our window," said Bill Gaskin. "It went through the wall...and it lodged in his closet."

The noise woke up 17-year-old Andrew Gaskin from a dead sleep. He rolled over and went back to sleep, not thinking it was an bullet that went through his closet.

"You hear about all the violence in the city, but out here you wouldn't expect it," said Andrew Gaskin.

The gunshots came from a neighbor who lives about 400 yards behind the Gaskins.

Shooting on private property is legal, but Bill Gaskin discovered more than residential target practice when he went to his neighbor's house.

"He was holding a shooting event. About 25 people were shooting," Gaskin said.

Gaskin was told an organization called DMZ Tactical was holding the event. The shooting range was set up with a berm facing a line of homes.

The Gaskins' next-door neighbors were also hit. A bullet is lodged in their deck.

A spokesman with the Will County Sheriff's office says, "The incident itself has been reviewed and determined to be non-criminal in nature."

So, a police report citing damage to property is the only record of the shootings.

"We literally dodged a bullet," Gaskin said. "The next family might not be so lucky."

Bill Gaskin says he is not anti-gun, he just is calling for the end of such shooting events so close to residential neighborhoods.

"I'm a member of the NRA," said Gaskin. "This is about reckless behavior."

The owner of the property that held the shooting event and DMZ Tactical were not available for comment. Both apologized to the Gaskin family and offered to pay for the property damage. The Will County Sheriff's Department has turned the matter over to the county land use department for review to see if the shooting range is in compliance with zoning ordinances.

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