ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) – A wooded area with bullets whizzing by. It sounds more like a war zone than what’s supposed to be a peaceful trail. A string of concerns posted on Nextdoor have shed light on a safety concern on Brushy Creek Trail in the Round Rock-area.
Neighbors say bullets are flying onto the trail from a nearby private property, near the portion of the trail that connects Collingwood Drive to Forest Ridge Boulevard.
KXAN spoke with a woman who lives close to the trail opening, who wished to remain anonymous for fear or retaliation. She said while she supports gun rights, she feels responsible use is paramount.
“I went for a run on the trail on Sunday. I hear gunfire going off and it made me uncomfortable so I was going to get off the trail, I was running back to get off the trail and heard a gunshot, heard a bullet whiz right by me. It was so close I could hear it very clearly and I heard it hit into a wooded area on the other side of the trail.”
The Round Rock Police Department says they’ve received nine reports of similar incidents since September.
“I could have very easily been killed,” she said. “Is it going to take somebody getting killed before somebody decides that they need to do something about the situation?”
Through a post on Nextdoor, KXAN learned she’s far from alone in her fear. Jocelyn Herman is just one neighbor who shares similar concerns.
“My immediate thought was wow, yeah well this has happened to me,” Herman said, referencing the online post. “People kept chiming in and chiming in and it seemed like there were about 30 responses in half an hour.”
Herman was walking her dog on the trail about a year ago when she says she heard gunshots, an experience she feels pales in comparison to the posts she read from neighbors. “There was an incident of someone saying their window was shattered by a bullet. In their home. Another bullet was found in the daughter’s closet,” Herman shared.
Neighbors pointed us to a property off East Palm Valley Blvd, as the source for shots being fired. We knocked on doors to try and speak with a property owner, but no one appeared to be home. Leaving the area, three individuals showed up in a large field on the property, facing the trail, holding what appeared to be shotguns or rifles.
“I don’t want to have to think about, are we risking our health and safety by being here? That shouldn’t even be an issue on a public, taxpayer funded city trail,” Herman said.
It was too late in the day Wednesday for RRPD to provide information when it comes to the legalities of people shooting off private property. KXAN intends to meet with police Thursday and provide updates on what we learn. RRPD says officers are looking into the matter.
Many cities have ordinances in place to prevent people from firing guns on their own property. According to online records, Round Rock doesn’t allow you to use any type of gun, including BB and pellet guns. But Round Rock police say the trail is in the city limits and the nearby property of concern is in Williamson County.
This is not the first time stray bullets have caused concerns in Central Texas. Back in 2007, 5-year-old Daniel Galicia was shot and killed while jumping on a trampoline in his backyard in Uhland. His neighbor Jose Espitia, who lived less than half-a-mile away, fired that shot. Espitia said he was target shooting in his backyard and didn’t see the boy. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison. A push for an outdoor shooting ban followed Galicia’s death. But in 2008, Hays County Commissioners voted 3-2 against that ban.