Andrea Swalec

Stray Bullets Interrupt Loudoun Co. Outdoor Baby Shower

It's one of several close calls reported this year in the county as suburban sprawl butts up against country shooting ranges

Cindy Dekeyrel was hosting a baby shower for her daughter outside her Lovettsville home when guests heard gunfire.

"They were really fast, hitting rapid-fire, and then we got a little more concerned," she said.

Dekeyrel says her guests calmly took cover, but ultimately the party was forced to move.

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She said, "They heard and felt a bullet or two whizzing by their heads, so they were like 'we better go inside.'"

Dekeyrel says a bullet hit the ceiling of her bedroom. No one was injured, however.

"It was a little disconcerting, to say the least," she said.

It's one of several close calls reported this year in the county as suburban sprawl butts up against country shooting ranges.

Three homes in Aldie were struck by bullets in May while some residents were home. Bullet holes were found in at least two Leesburg homes in August.

It's become such a common occurrence that the sheriff issued a warning to residents.

"It is also important that you exercise your second amendment right safely, and be considerate of those around you," Sherriff Michael Chapman said in a video.

The issue has prompted Loudoun County officials to launch a review of an ordinance that dictates where residents can shoot.

The ordinance — last revised in 2013 — permits all types of shooting in the more rural, western part of Loudoun County with some restrictions: No shooting within 50 yards of a highway or 100 yards of a park, school or occupied building, like a home. Officials are considering upping the distance to 880 yards.

The rule changes are still pending, as residents try to reconcile residents' longstanding rights to shot and hunt with a growing number of developments.

Frantic housing development in Leesburg prompted Dekeyrel to move to Lovettsville, but she's still adjusting to life in a more rural area.

"Learning how to live with neighbors who have hobbies you don't share and making sure everybody gets to enjoy their acreage," she said.

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