Gun range owner still non-committal to changes as ABC13 reports on stray bullets in neighborhood

ONLY ON 13: U.S. Customs and Border Protection also revealed it has a contract with Thunder Gun Range in Conroe.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Only on 13: Conroe neighbors on edge over increase of stray bullets
Eyewitness News has a follow-up on a Conroe gun range where a couple of incidents are putting the place's safety measures in question. A neighborhood next to it is seeing more stray bullets, potentially from the range.

CONROE, Texas (KTRK) -- A neighborhood in Conroe next to a gun range is on edge, fearful they could be shot after bullets have been flying into homes, cars, garages, and chimneys.

The Thunder Gun Range borders the Artavia subdivision, which was built about four years ago. Most of the people who live there said they knew what they were getting themselves into by living near a gun range, but never this.

Neighbors shared photos of the bullet holes, and one man, who wanted to stay anonymous out of fear of retaliation, showed us the bullet he found in his backyard. He said he is an avid shooter and wanted to live close to a range but did not expect stray bullets to be flying near his home.

"I have lived near gun ranges in the past, and the expectation is bullets would not leave the gun range," he said. "We are concerned we can't be outside without being in danger, especially the frequency it has been happening."

Afton Fitza and her husband have two young children, including a newborn, and they recently discovered a bullet lodged in their car.

"My husband was in the yard and noticed a bullet in the front of his car where his head would have been. So it's pretty scary," Fitza said. "At this point, we don't know what to do about it."

ABC13 spoke to the owner of the gun range over the phone, Jesse Gonzalez, who would not answer our questions. He said he was unhappy with our report Tuesday when he told us it wasn't a big deal that a man hurt himself firing a rifle at his range earlier this month.

Some neighbors filed police reports with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, but officials say it's so difficult proving where the bullets came from. The subdivision is hoping something can be done so they don't have to live in constant fear.

"I'd like them to be more responsible and enforce standard safety protocols for a shooting range and build barriers or something," the neighbor said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection does have a contract with Thunder Gun Range. A spokesperson said they "provide a dedicated range and classroom so that our federal law enforcement officers in the Houston area can complete the mandatory firearms qualification tests."

According to Thunder's owner, the federal officers fire in the opposite direction from the subdivision.

The owner of the gun range would not answer whether he would consider enhancing safety measures.

PREVIOUS STORY: Conroe gun range owner laughs off concerns after visitors take cover when bullets start flying

Two dads feared the worst when bullets started flying around the gun range they took their sons to. But the owner said he's not making changes.

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