Neighbors on edge over stray bullets near Harnett shooting range
Posted January 17, 2012
Updated January 18, 2012
Fuquay-Varina, N.C. — Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins met with more than 100 community members Tuesday who are fired up with concerns about a farm and shooting range in the area.
Drake Landing is a family-owned farm in Fuquay-Varina that neighbors say brings noise and gunfire too close to home. The shooting range, which is about three-quarters of a mile from the road, falls under the umbrella of "agritourism," which means it's exempt from county zoning laws.
In the past year, Rollins said his office has handled five cases of stray bullets hitting homes or cars in the area surrounding the shooting range. It was determined later, however, that one of those bullets did not come from Drake Landing.
Investigators are still looking into the other four cases of bullets found, Rollins said, but unless they can prove the shootings weren't accidental, this hands are tied. If residents decided to file a lawsuit, they could take up the issue in civil court.
Still, neighbors say they want the sheriff's office to do more to keep their community safe.
"I just don't like that they are waiting for somebody to get hurt before they do anything about it," said Jesse Adam.
In 2010, the range sparked controversy when it planned a three-day semi-automatic weapons course over Memorial Day weekend. Organizers wound up moving that event to another location, in part because of public outcry.
Rollins urged neighbors not to jump to conclusions about where stray bullets might be coming from and some people spoke out in defense of Drake Landing.
"I've lived less than a mile from there for 10 years and have never felt unsafe," said Ben Elam. "I've never been bothered by any noise there."
County Commissioner Dan Andrews owns Drake Landing. He attended Tuesday's meeting, but declined to comment.