Local News

Holiday gunfire nearly kills Cumberland woman

Posted January 3, 2011 5:53 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2011 7:40 p.m. EST

— A Cumberland County man wants people to stop using gunfire to celebrate holidays after a stray bullet tore through his bedroom on New Year's Eve and barely missed hitting his wife.

Bob Marriott said Monday that he and his wife were watching television during the final minutes of 2010 when the gunshot shattered a bedroom window.

"We heard 'bang,' and the wife felt some sort of breeze go by her ear," Marriott said. "She had that startled look in her face."

The bullet ended up in a closet wall, and Marriott's wife remains shaken by the incident.

"If she'd been sitting in this chair, maybe a little bit over – six inches – she'd have been taken out," Marriott said.

He said he grabbed his gun and ran outside to find the shooter, but he didn't see anybody.

Investigators with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said they don't believe the couple was targeted, and they are treating the case as random gunfire. They had no suspects as of Monday evening.

Marriott said he has heard gunshots in the neighborhood before, including previous New Year's Eve and Fourth of July celebrations. He said the stray bullet was probably gunfire to ring in the new year.

"This was not up in the air. This was somebody who maybe had a misfire or whatever," he said.

Spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said the sheriff's office gets complaints of shots fired every New Year's Eve, and she said Marriott's case should remind people of the danger of random gunfire.

"Those bullets have to land somewhere," Tanna said.

Marriott said it's only a matter of time before such celebrations end up in a fatality.

"It has to stop because somebody's going to get killed," he said. "Fireworks are great. The color in the sky is great. But guns firing? No."