Galveston — While sitting inside her mother’s home one Saturday afternoon in Galveston, the last thing Lori Stout expected in such a small town was gunfire.
First, she thought it was somebody throwing rocks through a window. Upon hearing a second popping noise though, there was no doubt about what was speeding through.
She immediately realized she needed to keep herself and her
5-year-old daughter safe.
“I just didn’t know where to go,” Stout said. “I had to go get my phone [to call 911] and I thought, ‘what if they start shooting again?’”
The mother and daughter were on the ground together, wondering what could have possibly happened.
It turned out a round of the same .308 caliber had struck a neighbor’s property as well, according to a Cass County Sheriff’s Department report. The report states it was the result of a shooting-range event that was being held at a private property about a mile outside of town, and sponsored by the Down by the Tracks Gun Store in Galveston. The rounds belong to a Russian PKM full-automatic machine gun, police said.
At about 1 p.m. April 14, police arrived at Stout’s location in the 200 block of South Sycamore Street. Upon arrival, officers found a bullet lodged in a wooden door frame of the residence, which police said had traveled through a window above the front door.
At a nearby property in the 300 block of Howard Street, police located a bullet hole in a garage and a dent on a vehicle, which appeared to have been struck by a bullet, the report states.
Stout’s parents, Jack and Pam Hight, own the Sycamore street home. They were both away at the time of the bullets’ impact.
“I was probably doing about 90 miles per hour to get back down here,” said Jack, who heard of the news while he was at Menard’s. “All kinds of stuff goes through your mind. You don’t know if it’s a drive-by. You don’t know if this is some sort of gang-related thing from out of town.”
Police said they spoke with the owner of the property where the shooting-range event was held. The home in the 1200 block of South 1100 East belongs to Zachary J. Beaver. No one at the Beaver residence answered the door Wednesday.
Harley Cardwell, manager at the gun shop and son of owner D. Melvin Cardwell, said they initially contacted the sheriff’s department and Galveston marshall about the planned event, but did not hear back.
He and the store’s attorney, Noblesville-based Larry Hansen, said there was also active shooting taking place at other properties in the area that day separate from the gun store’s event.
The police report estimated 60 to 70 people were at the event, while Hansen disputed that statement, saying there were 15 to 20. The event allowed one person to shoot at a time, Hansen said.
Participants were supposed to shoot at a back stop that measured about 4 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide at the base, according to the report.
No arrests have been made in the case, and it is not clear what laws or regulations — if any — were broken at the event. Sheriff Randy Pryor could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Hansen said he was not prepared to make a statement on that aspect of the case.
The report states the property owner noticed a woman shooting a gun just before authorities arrived on scene. No one there could identify for police the female or who the gun belonged to.
Stout said she is extremely grateful no one was harmed, but would like to see some sort of judicial action taken. The matter is being further investigated by the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office.
“I’d like someone to be held responsible,” Stout said. “Accidents happen, but there needs to be some level of accountability.”
Stout said she is going back to her mother’s home this weekend for the first time since the incident.
Her daughter is doing fine, she said. At the time, both were in the rear of the house and the bullet landed about 10 feet away from them. A second bullet sped through a wall on the second floor of the home and landed in another wall at the top of the stairs.
Meanwhile, Pam Hight was just down the block at the time and within short distance of the bullet’s line of travel. Although there is no report of any children being outside at the time, the family said it is not uncommon to see them playing on most days.
“My daughter calls me, and she’s like, ‘Mom, someone’s shooting at the house,” Hight said. “Well naturally, this day in age, you think drive-by ... if [the bullet] had just been over six more inches, [Lori] would have been pretty much in the line of fire.”