Neighbors battling with Spencer gun range over bullets hitting homes

SPENCER, Ind.—Some people living near a gun range are terrified they’re going to be hit by a bullet one day soon.

Neighbors in Spencer directly across from the Precision Gun Range say their houses on Hardscrabble Road have been struck by several bullets.

“The neighbor’s daughter and I were outside and we heard the bullet whizz by,” said Kathy Wise. “It went whirr, thump.”

First, Kathy Wise says the bullets sounded too close. Then, she knew for sure they were.

She walked around the house, pointing out bullet holes she and her husband found on the back of the garage. Then she showed where she says state police and local investigators had found even more bullet holes and the actual ammunition.

“When he checked our house, he found a bullet in our house, a .223,” said Wise. “He’s got it on record where he pulled the siding out and pulled it out of the side of the house.”

Investigators traced the path of one bullet from the outside of the garage, through a divider and clear through another wall.

“It’s a dangerous safety issue,” said Wise. “Our ballistics man was shocked. He says it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when someone gets hurt.”

Investigators have also found bullet holes or bullets on the neighbors’ properties.

Ballistics professionals have flagged bullets throughout the tree line separating the gun range from the homes and beyond, on the residential side of the woods.

They’ve told the Wises and other neighbors that the woods should stop any bullets from leaving the property, but in a Facebook post, also claimed any bullets that clear the berm—used to stop bullets that miss targets—would clear residential houses as well.

Wise says that’s problematic for two reasons.

One, the woods aren’t owned by the range. But bullets shot by the customers have torn up the trees, leaving the owner unable to log the timber for money.

The second issue, says Wise, is that if bullets are clearing their house, the range is still acknowledging bullets are leaving their property.

“No bullet should ever leave their property on a gun range,” said Wise. “If it goes over us, it’s going to be in the road, where school buses are. There’s a man who rides a bike up and down the road, you driving in the road, anybody could get hit in their car now.”

Precision staff would not talk on camera today, but did say they take safety seriously. They claim their investigation shows the bullet holes didn’t come from them and they’re likely not responsible.

Wise though, questions why the owners left a voicemail, offering to pay for damage to their house and trailer, if they didn’t feel they were responsible.

Since then, despite the gun range backing away from taking responsibility, they did first move the building closer to the targets.

Wise says the bullets kept coming anyway.

Then, Owen County Sheriff Leonard Hobbs says he recommended they shut the rifle range portion of the business down until the investigation was over.

Wise hopes it stays that way, until Precision can guarantee 100 percent a bullet won’t come through her home as she and her husband sleep.

“Every time he comes out to the garage, I now say a little prayer to keep him safe,” said Wise. “It’s like, you shouldn’t have to pray for your husband’s safety in your own house in Spencer, Indiana.”

If the problems with the rifle range aren’t solved, Wise says they’ll be forced to continue planning their lives around trying to avoid bullets.

“We used to keep our dog outside, we can’t keep our dog outside anymore,” said Wise. “We don’t have cookouts, we mow on Mondays, whether it rains or shines, because they’re closed on Mondays because then we’re safe. It’s crazy that something can’t be done. It’s just crazy.”