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Gun Range Closed As Stray Bullet Reports Probed

GRAND HAVEN TWP. (AP) – A gun range in West Michigan has been closed as authorities investigate reports that stray bullets may have wounded one person and hit homes about a half-mile away.

The North Ottawa Rod and Gun Club closed its range in Grand Haven Township last week, the Grand Haven Tribune and The Grand Rapids Press reported. Authorities began their investigation after a bullet on Thursday hit the arm of a man working at a home in the area about 30 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.

On Monday, dozens of area residents turned out at the club’s board meeting to voice their concerns about the gun range. Board president Mark Welch said the club’s rifle and pistol range will be closed until further notice. Its trap and skeet shooting areas could reopen Wednesday.

Welch told neighbors that the club’s “paramount concern” is safety for not only its members, but the community.

Ottawa County Undersheriff Greg Steigenga said it’s believed that at least 10 incidents of wayward rounds striking structures have surfaced. At the time the man was hit Thursday, Grand Valley State University police were getting firearms training at the range.

“We have drawn some correlations, but I can’t talk about any specifics,” Steigenga said.

The department plans to wrap up its investigation this week, and will forward its findings to the Ottawa County prosecutor for review.

At Monday’s meeting, some homeowners expressed frustration.

“Until changes are made, I don’t think anybody is going to feel comfortable or safe,” said Rachel Twa, who discovered a bullet in sand next to her damaged house last Thursday. She and her neighbors plan to bring up the issue with the township board next week.

Jeremey Wilder said he discovered a bullet hole in siding above the garage door about six months ago and thought it was from one of his children using a slingshot. Once he heard about the man being injured at a neighbor’s house, he found a bullet under the siding.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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