Local News

'Rogue hunter' blamed for shot that narrowly missed 12-year-old in Raleigh home

Posted November 16, 2017 4:30 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2017 6:30 p.m. EST

— The owner of a wooded property in north Raleigh on Thursday blamed a "rogue hunter" for firing shots two weeks ago that almost hit a 12-year-old boy inside his home.

Lemuel Thornton said he often allows people to hunt on his property off Capital Boulevard near the Neuse River, but only if they get written permission from him. He said no one had permission to hunt there on Nov. 3, when two shots tore through a house on Meryton Park Way, with one missing by inches hitting Jordan Members in the head.

Police told the Members family that the bullets likely came from a .22-caliber rifle, but Thornton said they came from a more powerful gun.

Thornton said people sometimes trespass on the property and think they can target practice there.

"They think everything out here is country, and there's nobody around and they just go to shooting," he said. "They're not smart enough to realize that that weapon they're shooting is a killer."

Thornton said he requires hunters to shoot from deer stands and use shotguns. By shooting at ground level, he said, bullets can travel through nearby houses.

Raleigh police and the Wake County Sheriff's Office need to be more responsive to complaints about gunfire and try to find those responsible, he said.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said people are allowed to hunt right up to a property line as long as no projectile lands on an adjoining property. If a bullet does cross the property line while hunting, the hunter could be charged with careless and negligent hunting, a misdemeanor, and a prosecutor could seek more serious charges if there's property damage or injuries.

Despite Raleigh's growth into once-rural areas where people have hunted for generations, Harrison said he hasn't seen an increase in situations like Jordan Members' close call.