Stray Bullet Strike

Monday, September 13, 2010 - 12:30pm

Teen recovering after being grazed by stray bullet from firing range near his home.

Nicholas Breske says he was looking down when he got the mysterious wound on his left middle finger while working on a fence near his Snohomish, Washington home.

"I just heard something flying through the air real fast," said Breske, 16.

According to a Snohomish County Sheriff's report, that "something" may have been a bullet.

Nicholas said the injury was minor, but whatever it was, it left an inch-long gash, and Nicholas' mother is very upset.

"It just never dawned on me, if he's a half a mile away, that there would be a bullet that would stray from the gun range," said Donna Breske.

The Breskes claim it was a round fired from the Everett Sportsmen Club just up the road from the farm where Nicholas was mending fences Monday around noon.

Nicholas said he had put his hand on a post and leaned down to pick up some supplies when it happened.

"I heard the sound first of all, and then all of a sudden I felt the pain come through my finger," Nicholas said.

"We're not saying it didn't come from our area, we don't know at this point," said club president Steven Frombach. "We try to be good neighbors, do our part, so this is really concerning for us as well."

Surrounding the outdoor range are thousands of acres of farmland.

Two small berms act as barriers on the property, while a longer, 20-foot-tall hill of compact dirt and blackberry bushes lines the eastern boundary, acting as a backstop to catch ammunition rounds, said Frombach.

"Within the last five years, we've actually made it higher to make sure we keep everything inside the range," Frombach said.

The club was not open to the public Monday.

Frombach said a local police department was conducting rifle training there at the time Nicholas said he was hit.

"We didn't see any unsafe behavior," Frombach said, adding that officers who shoot there are "typically highly trained."

Donna Breske is concerned the backstop is not enough, saying it only blocks rounds going east-west and not bullets heading south toward the farm where her son works.

She's filed a complaint with the Snohomish County code enforcement office.

"I would like to see better oversight of the range," she said. "One bullet is one too many, and fortunately in this case, it was just a minor injury."

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