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Utah County neighborhood concerned about target shooting after bullet goes through home walls


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SARATOGA SPRINGS — A gunshot through an upstairs window in Saratoga Springs was concerning to more than just one family Friday as others in the Hawks Landing and Fox Hollow neighborhoods said this had happened before and were asking for help so it didn't happen again.

In the latest case that occurred on Nov. 25, the couple — which asked not to be identified over safety concerns — said they were unloading the family Christmas tree with their children when they heard several shots come from the direction of the hillside.

One shot sounded like it hit the house.

"I knew exactly what it was," the father told KSL-TV in an interview. "I knew for a fact it had come through the window and through our boys' bedroom."

The bullet also went through an interior wall before it was stopped by the shower casing in the neighboring bathroom.

A hole was left just above a toy castle.

"If he had been kneeling in front of that castle, the bullet would have hit his head," the mother said.

The couple remained in disbelief that their home was three rows of houses from the hillside and was hit apparently by an errant shot fired from that area.

"I mean, that's pretty crazy to think it missed all those homes and hit ours," the father said. "It's like a one-in-a-million chance."

Residents Jeffery Haws and Todd Stay said they only wished the odds were that low, as they pointed to additional cases in the area in the 4 years they've lived in the Fox Hollow neighborhood.

"I would say at least seven times in the last three and a half, four years that I've been here," Haws asserted.

A gunshot through an upstairs window in Saratoga Springs was concerning to more than just one family Friday as others in the Hawks Landing and Fox Hollow neighborhoods said this had happened before and were asking for help so it didn’t happen again.
A gunshot through an upstairs window in Saratoga Springs was concerning to more than just one family Friday as others in the Hawks Landing and Fox Hollow neighborhoods said this had happened before and were asking for help so it didn’t happen again. (Photo: Mark Wetzel, KSL-TV)

Saratoga Springs Police through city spokesperson AnnElise Harrison said the department estimated the total to be closer to 3 incidents in 5 years, but the spokesperson acknowledged it would require a closer look at records for an exact count.

Harrison said it was illegal to fire off a gun within city limits or on city property and any such case is investigated and prosecuted.

She acknowledged there were unincorporated and public lands as well in the area where it was legal to target shoot, but she said police have worked in partnership with other law enforcement agencies to help ensure safety in those areas.

Haws and Stay said they were working to raise awareness of the ongoing issues while calling on the city and county to take measures such as stepping up patrols and increasing signage in the area urging caution.

Stay said the sound of gunfire was more or less constant along the hillside during the warmer months and remained active throughout the year.

Haws said he even recently had a nightmare about an errant shot striking and killing him on his front porch.

"That just shows you how much that's weighing on our minds here in this neighborhood," Haws said. "It's just part of our life now, but it's going to take a life. That's the reason we're trying to make people aware of this."

They urged people to never shoot in the direction of neighborhoods and even go to the gun range located south of the city.

"With all of the options that we have, with all of the open areas we can utilize for this kind of hobby, why so close to the neighborhoods?" Stay questioned. "I think that there is, once again, a lack of awareness, there's not enough patrolling and I think as that continues it does become more of a 'Wild West.'"

The couple whose home was struck last week also urged people to be considerate and cautious.

"I was terrified, I was angry," the mother said.

She said her boys were still afraid to go to sleep after what happened.

"(They are) afraid that they would get shot if they went in their bedroom," she said. "It shouldn't be that way."

She hoped others recognized the potential hazard that loomed with neighborhoods so close to the hillside.

"Our home should be a safe place for our children," she said.

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Andrew Adams
Andrew Adams is a reporter for KSL-TV whose work can also be heard on KSL NewsRadio and read on KSL.com and in the Deseret News.

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