Pittsboro officer nearly shot by group firing weapons during bonfire

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A Pittsboro police officer was nearly shot after a group of people were firing aimlessly during a bonfire. He says in this situation, complacency kills because this time of year he thought the shots fired call was fireworks. That's until a bullet went flying past his head.

Pittsboro police officer Nick Webber responded to the area on Lockerbie Lane Saturday night.

"It was pitch black and we didn't know where the shots were coming from so soon as I heard that shot or that round go by me I went for cover and called for backup," Webber said.

Webber arrived on the scene to hear multiple shots being fired. Next thing he knew, he was the target when he put his flashlight up.

"I heard it go through the tree line, I heard the wind of the bullet go by me then I heard the sound of it hit the house. Obviously my safety is huge but also this is a neighborhood that has tons of kids," Webber said.

That includes kids like Brittney Ortiz and her younger sister, who were right across the street and frightened by the shots.

"There were fireworks then in between it sounded like gunshots so at that point we were kind of like, we called our parents and stuff because we were home alone and we didn't know what was going on at all," Brittney said.

Backup arrived and pinpointed the shots were coming from about 100 yards away across a field to the north. That's where they found a group of people having a bonfire in the Jefferson Park neighborhood.

"The homeowners immediately said they were shooting their guns and most of them were intoxicated," Webber said.

The homeowner, Robert Stevenson, was arrested. He was charged with criminal recklessness after witnesses say he fired the final shot that nearly hit the officer. Although other house guests admitted to shooting their weapons, they haven't been charged.

"This is a huge life lesson for anyone that owns a firearm or shoots a firearm and they mix alcohol with that. Those two never go in hand in hand. If you plan on drinking anytime your firearm needs to be separated from that situation," Webber said.

Stevenson was released from jail Monday morning. He’ll be back in court in August. It’s unclear if the other people at his home who also admitted to shooting will face charges. The family whose house was hit is out of town but aware of what happened.

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