Sunday, January 28, 2018

NY: Know Your Backstop, Parma Man Accidentally Shot from Half Mile Away



In October, 2016, two men were target shooting in rural New York.  They were sighting in rifles for the upcoming deer season. They could see about a thousand feet, but there was no obvious backstop on the flat ground.  They had two .308 Winchester rifles, a Del-Ton AR, and a pistol.  It was about 4 p.m.

Almost half a mile away, unseen, Kevin Flannery was mowing a lane on his property.  A picture taken a year later shows tall ground cover on either side of the lane. Flannery could not be seen from the position of the shooters.  Flannery apparently moved in and out of the "beaten zone" of the rifle shooters as they zeroed in their rifles. The bullets traversed tall grass and weeds before reaching the lane Flannery was mowing.

Flannery's mower, then Flannery were hit. Flannery was critically wounded. It took months for him to recovery after being hit with a high powered rifle round. He lost 40 pounds while recovering after surgery in the hospital. From rochesterfirst.com:
PARMA, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Police have arrested two suspects in relation to a shooting in Parma that happened on Tuesday.

Police responded around 4:45 p.m. to Moul Road for a report of a man who was shot in the abdomen while working on his property.

Police say as they responded, they could hear shots being fired in the distance. Deputies located the shooters, Ryan G. Pellman, 34, of Greece and Matthew E. Rodgers, 35, of Hilton in an area behind and to the west of North Avenue.

Pellman and Rodgers were allegedly shooting paper targets without the use of a backdrop.

Once the shooting had ceased, deputies located the victim, Kevin R. Flannery, 42, about 800 feet south of where they responded.
Pellman and Rodgers were indicted for assault and reckless endangerment by a grand jury in April of 2017.  In August, 2017,  Judge Alex Renzi  of the State Supreme Court overturned the indictment. The charges were dismissed. The evidence did not meet the legal criteria for either crime.

A civil suit was filed by the Flannerys in November of 2017.

Kevin Flannery went through months of recovery. He came very close to dying. It was 10 months before he was able to return to work. Pellman and Rodgers have had to spend considerable resources on their defense. The legal expense are likely to continue.

The shooters had no intention of hitting Flannery. They did not know he was there. They thought it was impossible that their shots had hit anyone.  Flannery was 2,300 feet away from the shooters, a little less than 800 yards.  .308 rifles are routinely fired in thousand yard matches.

This accident occurred because the shooters did not understand the ballistics of their rifles. They assumed that there was no one in the direction they were shooting. They did not insure the bullets were hitting an adequate backstop.  It was a nearly fatal mistake. I suspect they have been regretting their decision for over a year.

Safety rules came about through long, hard experience. They exist for good reasons.

Know your target, and what is behind your target.


©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

David Lindley said...

I think Assault charges were a bit much. It sounds like reckless endangerment would fit, but I don't know the text of the law. No matter, the two shooters owe the guy. Medical bills, lost wages, future complications at least. Something for pain and suffering most likely. They should pay up.