Encounter with an unsafe backyard shooter


March 6, 2012, 06:29 PM
The wife and I decided to go for a walk around our neighborhood this afternoon ... it was in the 60's and was the first really beautiful day in months.

We checked out the new boat launch ... talked to a few kids on bikes with their parents all in all everybody was enjoying a great release from the winter weather.

CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! The indiscernible sound of being on the wrong end of a discharging rifle.

Here is what when through my head:

No Cover (I’m in the middle of the road with Wetlands to either side)
Where is the shooter (11 o'clock ... <removed> I'm less than 150 feet dead down range and he is taking aim again ... looks like a scoped rifle wooden stock)
MOVE! (I immediately turned around and got out of there)

CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Obviously I can now see the guy is target shooting at a box in his backyard (I'm still moving away).

I am now back in a safer zone and the next question comes in
Obviously this guy is shooting in a very unsafe direction. His back yard butts up against a small wetlands and then the paved road I was on in all the total distance was less than 150 feet.

What would you do next?
1. Go talk to him and give him a piece of my mind?
2. Shout out "Hey there are people on this road?
3. Just leave the area and warn others that I see out walking that I come across?
4. Alert the authorities (non-emergency) of an unsafe shooter?

This is what we did:
1. We Got out of there.
2. We called the local sheriff ...
3. We warned other walkers as we cam accross them

I was not armed and I didn't want to talk to the shooter.
I still wouldn't have approached him even if I was armed.

Included is a map of there area to better see where I was at ... the x is where my wife and I were the arrow the shooter.

How would of you handled it?

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March 6, 2012, 06:38 PM
So was he actually shooting across the path?

March 6, 2012, 06:58 PM
No, the target and the shooter were on the same side of the road ... however there was no backstop and I was looking at the barrel

March 6, 2012, 07:05 PM
the paved road I was on in all the total distance was less than 150 feet.

there was no backstop and I was looking at the barrel

From your description you were looking down the barrel of a gun at a distance of less than 50 yards. In that scenario there's no way the shooter did not see you and continued to shoot. You did the right thing by gettin' the 'ell outta there and calling the sheriff. The guy is obviously a nut case or just plain stupid.

March 6, 2012, 07:13 PM
In New York State, one has to be at least 500 feet away from a dwelling; however, there is nothing in the law to my knowledge that mentions the direction in which one shoots, which seems to me more important.

March 6, 2012, 07:13 PM
I've delt with this twice! Both times I yelled out "stop shooting! There are people in your line of fire!!"Then we had words. You have to be bold dealing with something like this. Glad you both are ok. You did good just getting out of harms way.


March 6, 2012, 07:18 PM
Approximately how old was this guy? A big kid, or an adult? If an adult, I probably would have done something similar to what you did. If a kid, I probably would have paid a visit to the parents.

March 6, 2012, 07:30 PM
Actually it was an adult with a kid or two running around behind him...

I always feel bad involving the athorities but thanks everybody for the reasuring me that I did the right thing.

March 6, 2012, 11:35 PM
I think you did exactly the right thing. You prevented immediate incidents by warning other people, you didn't put yourself in harm's way and you took long term action to prevent it from happening in the future.

March 7, 2012, 12:13 AM
You made the right call. If someone is dumb enough to fire off rounds towards people with a crap backstop then things probably would have gotten worse for you if you went over to talk to him.

March 7, 2012, 06:53 AM
Yes you did the right thing. I would never approach someone who was that careless and that dumb to be shooting that way. Even if both sides remained calm and civil (not sure if I could remain that composed), I still would not get in front of this clueless individual while he was holding a loaded gun.

Sav .250
March 7, 2012, 07:23 AM
Sounds like you have a "jerk" in the neighborhood.

March 7, 2012, 09:29 AM
Oh not another case

March 7, 2012, 09:42 AM
After operating and gun safety, two of the first rules I learned as a shooter was never shoot without a backstop and NEVER shoot towards roads without a backstop.

Very unsafe shooter.

M2 Carbine
March 7, 2012, 10:19 AM
Did you hear any rounds zinging past you?

I have a backyard pistol range and 115 yard rifle range. Been shooting here since 1967 when there was almost no one around. Now there's houses as close as about 200 feet from the ranges. I still shoot most every day and some evenings and at night (laser/light practice).

There's about 7 people around that I can hear shooting also, even full auto.
Doesn't bother me as long as I don't hear any bullets flying overhead.

The situation you describe is right dangerous and you are right to take some action.
Personally, maybe, (all things considered) I would have talked to the shooter and explained how dangerous what he was doing is. Maybe explain the law to him.
Some people, even people that have been shooting for a while, do dumb things without thinking.
I would offer alternatives, if there were any.

Last, I'd probably call the law if necessary.

March 7, 2012, 03:13 PM
I'd have called the authorities - EMERGENCY!

March 7, 2012, 03:20 PM
Without a doubt you did the right thing. Thank God no one was hurt. Anyone who is using firearms in an unsafe manner needs to be dealt with appropriately and in this situation the appropriate response was contacting the local police. It's people like that who give all of us a bad name. If we value our gun rights we need to use them responsibly otherwise we are giving ammunition to the Left to use against us.

March 7, 2012, 03:21 PM
Definitely worth a call to 911. A person endangering the lifes of others certainly justifies it.

March 7, 2012, 04:06 PM
You did the right thing. Dangerous situation as described, irresponsible shooter.

But confronting him could have made it more dangerous.

March 7, 2012, 04:23 PM
I have had to do the same thing twice in the last 10 years. The first time we called the non-emergency sheriff's number and they responded with about 6 units and a helicopter. We are in a densely populated area where there is no safe way to shoot. I think in both cases all the deputies did was chew the person's butt and explain basic gun safety.

March 7, 2012, 05:54 PM
I agree with M2 Carbine on this one. But that's a personal choice based on your ability to talk to someone calmly, and respectfully so the situation can be corrected.

If your way to communicate is by going up and telling "that dang fool just how stupid, and dangerous they are", then it may be best to let the police talk to them.

I just know that I would always prefer to have someone talk to me rather than involving the police.

March 7, 2012, 06:24 PM
I know that Saint Paul said that we should go up and discuss our concerns face to face on the first offense, but Saint Paul was not dealing with people with loaded firearms. You did the right thing.

March 7, 2012, 06:50 PM
Another reason calling the law was smart: some people won't listen to anyone else.

Blue Line
March 8, 2012, 09:30 AM
Know your target and whats Beyond, comes to mind here.

March 9, 2012, 09:51 AM
Wow. I remember one canoe trip with my dad years ago. We heard a rifle going off as came around a bend. Just after the next shot, we could see a fellow on the bank, shooting at a can on a rock in the middle of the river. I think we both stopped paddling from the sheer awe of the stupidity involved. Dad tried to get his attention but had no luck. He shot another round as we continued to drift toward the line of fire. While I was still trying to gather my thoughts, Dad yelled "Hey!" nice and loud and finally got his attention. He politely asked that he hold his fire until we were around the bend. The shooter seemed more put out than concerned. Had there been more time to talk, I'm sure he might have learned a little about backstops, shooting across commonly traveled waterways, and the 22LR's penchant for ricochets. Instead I got reminded, a minute or so later, that out of sight is not the same as out of earshot, and how it might be prudent to avoid the word "idiot" until we were around the next bend. ;) This was long before the time of mobile phones, so there really wasn't much else to do about it - the next town was several miles downriver.

March 9, 2012, 10:04 AM
Know your target and whats Beyond, comes to mind here.
this was the fist thing that came to mind when I read the original post.

M2 Carbine
March 9, 2012, 10:18 AM
A few years ago a couple from Arizona built a nice horse ranch across the road from me. After a few months I met them for the first time.
About the second thing the woman said to me was, "You the one doing all the shooting?"

Now you don't know how a question like that is going to go..........like," You are scaring my horses" or "I don't like the noise", or some such.

My answer, politely given would have been, "If you move by a shooting range or a airport, don't complain about the noise. (my place is also a licensed heliport)

So when she asked me am I the one doing all the shooting I answered, "That's me"

She said, "Would you teach me to shoot?"
I said, "I'd be glad to". :)

Shadow 7D
March 9, 2012, 01:17 PM
Many places have law that ban shooting across roadways and waterways, even if the 'target' is in front of said way, if the bullet crosses they have NO problem of ticketing you here.

March 11, 2012, 05:01 PM
This is what we did:
1. We Got out of there.
2. We called the local sheriff ...
3. We warned other walkers as we cam accross them

Yup, you done good.

March 12, 2012, 06:59 PM
Return fire.

March 12, 2012, 07:24 PM

What state.. what county, what are the laws in this regard..?

Others in your area within the forum would like to be warned..

Glad you and others came out without a scratch and posted up..


March 12, 2012, 08:10 PM
I would yell, "CEASE FIRE!!" as loud as I could while evacuating, and then proceed exactly as you did. Well done.

Spaceman Spiff
March 13, 2012, 05:44 PM
reminds me of a walk i took a few years ago along the virginia side of the potomac river not far outside dc...few people were around in the park at the time, which was nice and peaceful...the trail wandered along the river's edge and as i rounded a corner i heard a boom from the direction of the river and the sound of gravel being thrown through the branches above me ~30' or so...it turns out some jackasses were in a boat shooting shotguns into the woods at god knows what (fowl of some kind, i presume) and the pellets were zinging over my head into the trees...

they were too far out on the river to yell at from where i was, and i wasn't going to get any closer as that meant climbing a small ridge and exposing myself further, so i just got out of there...that's the closest that i've come to being shot at and while obviously not intentional on their part it's still not very enjoyable!

March 13, 2012, 05:52 PM
This is what we did:
1. We Got out of there.
2. We called the local sheriff ...
3. We warned other walkers as we cam accross them

Only one mistake that I can see is that you should have yelled very loud and very clear that you were in the line of fire. That alone could have induced the shooter to cease fire right then. Your decision to not yell could have very well cost you and/or your wife's life as you cleared out of the line of fire.

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