Machias, Wash - After receiving all of the case files, and photos from the Snohomish County Sheriff's office on August 31st, this column has now reviewed these case files and photos and has found issues with the homeowners claim that the bullet came from the Seattle Rifle & Pistol Association.
For starters, as stated in the last update to this story, there is the fact that the range facility was indeed, closed the day the home was hit. The homeowner, Kendall Klatt, stated that she found the hole in her house on the afternoon of August 8th, 2013. On that day the range calendar shows that the rifle and pistol range is closed for a work party, which would mean that there would have been no shooting on the range that day.
The second problem with this claim comes from from the official case files, the bullet in question traveled at an upward trajectory through the house. This would have been impossible for a round fired from over 500 yards from the house to travel 24 feet through a house, gaining 48 inches over that span. As shown in my previous article found here, a bullet fired from the ranges firing line would have a downward trajectory of almost two feet as it traveled through the house. Instead we see that there is almost a three foot gain in elevation across the dining room and kitchen alone, and another 12 inches of elevation once the round enters the master bedroom.
The hole is approx. 7 feet above the ground [outside the home]. I made a check of the interior of the residence and found the following. A bullet entered the dining room area approx. 6 feet off the floor and two inches to the right of the window and was climbing. The bullet struck the top portion of the kitchen cabinet and continued through the wall behind the cabinet. - Official Report, Snohomish County Sheriff's Officer/Via FOIA Request
The homeowners in this case printed photos and a flyer that were distributed to the neighborhood two weeks after the incident, in an what appears to be an effort to gain sympathy and support from the neighbors in their endeavor to blame the range facility for the bullet hole that appeared in their home. In their flyer they tell their neighbors that the bullet came from the range, and that because the sheriff's office will not pursue the case, they will have to go it alone with the planning office in order to get anything done. As of this writing there has not been any contact with the Snohomish County Planning Office regarding the range facility. It should also be noted that the homeowner reported, at the time of this incident that a bullet struck their fence in July of 2012, but did not report the incident, leaving the validity of that claim in question.
As seen around the country, there have been homeowners willing to go to great lengths to try and shut down range facilities. While generally not reported in the media, there are hundreds of anecdotal stories out there of homeowners claiming to have been hit by a bullet, only to drop a live, unfired cartridge into the hand of an officer. There have been recent cases locally of ranges that have been targeted, such as the case against Kitsap Rifle and Revolver where an overzealous prosecutor filed a lawsuit against the range as a public nuisance and a safety hazard. The county was able, in the end to limit the range to shorter hours, a caliber restriction and new sign in procedures. To date, the case is still pending appeal.
This story now appears now appears to have a lot of holes in it, which all look to invalidate the claim that the bullet did in fact come from Seattle Pistol & Rifle Association. But judging this case on the facts presented, the info obtained by this column and knowledge of ballistics, there is virtually no way that they bullet that hit that house came from the range facility in question, leaving many now to wonder, where did the bullet come from, and how did it end up in that house?
Case documentation can be found here for download.
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