Four people escaped injury when several men target practicing allegedly fired rounds toward them Wednesday near Christiana, a Rutherford County Sheriff’s deputy said.
One round traveled over the head of victim Hailey McWhorter when she delivered mail to neighbor Michael Baxter about 1:00 o'clock Wednesday afternoon (1/8/2014) on Wayside Road, Deputy Michael Moody said. The round traveled into Baxter’s home while he was inside and landed in a bathtub.
Victims Michele Baker and Troy Barrett were cutting trees between where the shots were fired and the residence that was struck, the deputy said.
“They stated that the bullets were close and that they could hear the bullets flying past them but couldn’t see the shooters,” Deputy Moody said.
When Deputy Moody arrived, he reported he heard “rapid gunfire from two separate small caliber weapons being fired at the same time and observed three pickup trucks in a field directly across from the Christiana Fire Hall on Sledge Road.”
Deputies located five men, but only one told them he was shooting.
Detective Sgt. Dan Goodwin and Detective Phil Brooks recovered the bullet from Baxter’s home and interviewed the suspects. They found the round traveled 653 yards.
Four of the five suspects were convicted felons who are not supposed to possess or carry firearms unless their rights are restored, Sgt. Goodwin said. No charges have been filed since the case remains under investigation. Charges are expected.
The detectives seized more than 600 rounds of ammunition and five pistols.
Sgt. Goodwin said it is legal for people to shoot in unincorporated areas of Rutherford County, but cautioned they must be careful and observe safety rules.
“You have to have a safe backstop,” Sgt. Goodwin said.
Sheriff Robert Arnold said people who shoot should observe basic safety rules:
- Treat all firearms as if it was loaded at all times.
- Never point a weapon at anything you’re not willing to see destroyed.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be aware of your target, including what lies before you and beyond.
- Make sure you have a backstop that will stop the round.