I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bullets over Bellview

First and foremost--I have been an NRA supporter for years, I am a conservative, 2nd Amendment supporter.  I also own guns.

Secondly--I strongly support law enforcement, and I always have (despite how some folks lately want to inaccurately portray me.... Just read this editorial I wrote two and a half  years ago and you will see where I stood on law enforcement then and where I still am today)

With this out of the way--my number one concern is safety.  Number one.  That's why I have been trying to find out who has been firing live ammunition in an abandoned borrow pit near Longleaf Drive.

I have had a rash of phone calls from concerned residents in the Bellview area, particularly the residents that live off of Wymart Road, complaining of bullets raining down on their property.

One resident called just yesterday and said last Saturday there was so much firing she called 911 because bullets were whizzing through her trees in her front yard.  "I'm afraid to let my kids out of the house!" she exclaimed.  She says she has called 911 about the problem and nothing is being done.  This past Saturday, she claims the responding officer said "Nothing can be done about this--the swat team is down there practicing"

Another resident has found a bullet hole in his car, another resident had a bullet lodged in the side of his house, and another resident has fished 3 bullets out of his backyard pool.  Channel 3 did a feature story on this yesterday. 

So with the revelation that in addition to airsoft and paintball guns being fired in the pit-- 9MM pistols and AR15s are also being fired down there--I am concerned.  I have also confirmed with the owner of the pit that  he and some Sheriff's Office personnel are using this location for shooting

 practice as well.

I know the county owns a facility out near the landfill that the ECSO utilizes as a range--so why are they using this area for shooting ?

I'm concerned that a student at nearby West Florida High School--or one of the citizens that lives in this area, might actually get hit.

Some folks are saying that the gunfire that is resulting in bullets landing in the property of nearby residents is not coming from the pit.....

I don't know, who is to say, who knows for sure?

I know that at least 4 bullets have been recovered by ECSO personnel in these homes recently-so I wonder what  was learned about the bullets that were recovered--were they analyzed?  I know the residents seem to believe the bullets hitting their property are being fired from that pit--- and that the rounds are 9MM, .223 and 5.56.   One way or another ---someone needs to get to the bottom of this.

This is not about stifling someone's right to use their property to fire their own weapons--that is a right property owners enjoy.

This is not an attack on responsible gun owners (I am one).

This is a safety issue for the residents that I hope we can quickly solve so residents can again feel safe in their own front yards.


Anonymous said...

Maybe the Swat team is trying to get the public to think they need millions of dollars for an indoor firing range so they decided to sling a few at the public to prove a point. Business as usual perhaps?

Marshall Brinson said...

If its actually a pit, with decent height walls, then its a good chance its not coming from the pit, or there are some people who can aim worth a damn. Bullets that hit a dirt bank, don't normally leave the area.

Anonymous said...

The shooting last Saturday mostly sounded like pistol rounds being fired at metal targets; perhaps a 9mm or 40 cal. I could hear the rounds striking metal plates. The rate of fire was slower than that of the "war zone" before. Towards the end of the day there were a few rapid fire bursts from what sounded like a low caliber rifle (AR 15?) for a few minutes, then it stopped.

Phosis9 said...

Except that the rounds wouldn't be able to impact the areas that folks claim bullet holes were found because the firing area is down in a pit with a sufficient backstop.

Jeff Bergosh said...

I don't believe that target shooters would intentionally shoot toward houses. I spoke to the owner of the pit who said they never fire in the direction of Wymart Road. But if it is not the people shooting in the pit----then where are all the bullets coming from? the bullets that are being found in and around properties lining Wymart Road. This is the Million dollar question....

George Levy said...

Recommend you contact a certified NRA firearms instructor.

I general, I would like to agree private property, they do what they want, but if bullets leave that property line that is a different matter.

Might want to check target background material. Loose dirt and sand are better at absorbing bullets that hard rocks and metal plates, can be ricochet. They are still responsible for the bullets ricocheting.

Bullets hitting cars and house. Who is paying for the repair? Who is responsible? Should not have to be the property owners.

Could this be carelessness? If someone gets injured, could it be attempted murder?

Phosis9 said...

Deputies have visited the property multiple times and determined that the authorized personnel on site are being safe and have sufficient backstops. Also, if you have visited the pit, which I doubt you have at all, you would see that the walls would not allow rounds to impact the surrounding homes in the area mentioned previously.

Consider looking into the surrounding neighborhood for illegal activity. Why are there shots being fired in those neighborhoods? Who is shooting there? No one is asking that question. They are just blindly pointing fingers at the pit. Yes, there is shooting there. No one is denying that.

Phosis9 said...

Thank you for recognizing that the individuals in the longleaf property are law-abiding citizens and responsible shooters, Jeff. The shooters recognize that at any moment LEOs can visit the property in order to ensure the public's safety.