Bullets in Bellview: Abandoned pit being used as shooting range?
ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WEAR) —
An old construction borrow pit off Longleaf Drive, near Pine Forest High School, is raising concerns for residents in the area. They said someone is using the land for target practice.
"I came out and I said, 'whew! Where the hell did that come from?'" said Frank Sasport.
Once the initial shock wore off, Sasport realized he knew exactly where this bullet hole came from.
"They do some shooting to the south of me," said Sasport. "Quite a bit of shooting and over here, my car got hit."
Sasport is thankful it was his car and not a person.
"Somebody is going to get hurt here," Sasport said.
He called the sheriff's office to file a report, but said deputies told him there wasn't much they could do.
"He said 'yes, that is a gunshot' and I told him, 'well, my wife does a lot of gardening, and what happens if she gets hit or I get hit?' And he said, 'well then we'll worry about it,'" said Sasport. "Well, you know, I'd like to worry about it now."
Sasport isn't alone. He and several of his neighbors have found bullets and bullet holes in and around their properties, and they've had enough.
"We thought it was neighbors shooting, we thought they had the right to shoot, according to the sheriff's office," said Larry Huntley. "Turns out it's not the neighbors, it's the pit."
Huntley, who lives a block and a half away from the pit, said he often hears weapons being fired from the property, which used to serve as a construction borrow pit.
"It's not paint guns, it's not airsoft guns, its weapons of high caliber," said Huntley. "Some of it may be pistols, some may be ARs, some may be beyond that."
Huntley said noise is just a minor issue, safety is what he's most concerned about.
"There's a school very close to this location, imagine if a student or a citizen got hit?" said Huntley. "We just can't have that."
Commissioner Jeff Bergosh is aware of what's going on. He met with residents and told them to gather evidence.
"We've turned over the information to the sheriff's office, so we're hoping they're investigating it," said Bergosh. "I've spoken with the code enforcement office, there's very little they can do unless it's an actual shooting range that they're running that's not permitted, if that's the case, then we can go in and we can cite them, but if it's someone's private property and they're just out there shooting, we're very limited in what we can do."
But for the people who live around here, like Sasport, that's not enough.
"We don't want to wait for somebody to get hurt here, because then something is going to happen," said Sasport. "The neighbors are liable to take the law into their own hands."