BRIDPORT — Vermont State Police are investigating another firearm-related incident in the Swinton Road neighborhood of Bridport, though fortunately this time no one was injured.
In this latest case, reported on Aug. 8, Swinton Road resident Rick Scott found a bullet lodged in the second-floor office of his home. Scott told police he suspected the bullet might have come from a coyote hunter who witnesses said drove into the area that day in a green Subaru station wagon and allegedly fired several shots in the direction of the residence.
The incident is bringing back some bad memories for Peter Damone, who two years ago was struck in the left arm and face by a .45-caliber round while standing on his Swinton Road porch. An investigation revealed the round was likely fired by a neighbor target practicing around a half a mile away. The neighbor subsequently accepted a plea deal in connection with the accidental shooting.
Damone thought he had seen the last of accidental gunfire in his neighborhood. But now he has seen his neighbor have a close call with a bullet.
“Once is enough,” Damone said during a phone interview on Friday.
Damone said he was told by VSP and Vermont Fish & Game officials that there was little they could do except stress that hunters must shoot safely and responsibly. There is no off-season for coyote shooting. Hunters have been targeting coyotes of late as their numbers have been increasing — to the detriment of the deer herd, some hunters believe.
“They have got to do something to protect people and their kids,” Damone said of authorities.
Scott voices serious concerns about the incident.
“I am a member of the National Rifle Association, a supporter of the Second Amendment and I own and shoot guns,” Scott said. “Incidents like this and the tragedy that befell my neighbor not that long ago, cause me to reconsider my position, people that won't refrain from reckless behavior should not be allowed to possess lethal weapons. How do you impose that restriction without impacting the civil liberties of responsible gun owners?
“One of the first and most important things that people are taught in the Vermont hunter safety course is ‘Know what’s beyond your target.’ If you see clear sky, or a building — don't take the shot,” he added. “While I'm thankful no one was injured or worse, that doesn't diminish the severity of the act. I'm thankful that that the state police and Vermont Fish & Wildlife are continuing to pursue this.”
Anyone with information on the Aug. 8 incident in Bridport should call VSP at 388-4919.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]