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Advertisement Stray bullet hits home
by Mary Atkinson · September 04, 2013


During a match at the West Liberty Gun Club, Aug. 4, a bullet went astray and hit a house on North Elm St.

The bullet traveled nearly a third of a mile. Although no one was injured, the incident was still serious enough to cause the club to make significant changes in procedures.

This includes redoing the landscaping to the layout of the club, as well as suspending all matches it had planned similar to the one on the weekend of the incident.

Gun Club President David Kelzenberg said he was first notified of the incident when the West Liberty Police notified him of a bullet that may have strayed from the club and pierced the house.

"When the incident occurred I met with City Manager Chris Ward, a council member, and later a West Liberty police officer accompanied by one of our members," he said.

He said the club initially wanted to notify the city fathers that this incident had occurred and pursue information about the specific details.

"Later, we had a cordial meeting with the homeowners whose window had been broken," he said. "We assured them that the gun club would compensate them for all damages to their property caused by this incident."

While the homeowners declined to comment, a press release from the police department had this to say about the incident:

"Officers arrived and located a lead round believed to come from the West Liberty Gun Club due to the direction and nature of the break in the glass."

Furthermore, the release stated "Officers spoke with officials at the range who confirmed it had sponsored a shooting event earlier on Aug 4. The property owners met with representatives from the gun club to assess the damage and to help identify and implement additional measures to mitigate future accidents from occurring.”

Finally, the release stated no criminal charges and no further investigation is necessary, since no criminal intent was shown.

President Kelzenberg said the club is proud of the fact that the it has had a clean safety record for over 60 years.

"A complete review of the match is being undertaken," he added. “Before matches of this type are resumed changes will be made to the physical structure of the property to minimize the likelihood of a similar incident."

Among other steps, Kelzenberg said the club will adjust the height of the earth berms, giant mounds of dirt that are designed to stop all rounds fired on the property.

Previously, the berms all faced west of town. However, there are lots where some berms face north, which is where police suspect the bullet came from.

In addition, he said more emphasis will placed on all aspects of safety during the safety briefing held for all participants before all matches.

"Again, we want to extend our sincerest apologizes to the family that was impacted by this incident," Kelzenberg said. "We want to assure everyone that we are implementing structural and procedural changes at the club, which we believe will prevent a recurrence of this unfortunate incident."

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