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Camillus Sportsmen's Club closes rifle range as police review home damage nearby

The rifle range at the Camillus Sportsmen's Club closed this week after the town demanded more protection for neighbors during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Camillus (WSYR-TV) - The rifle range at the Camillus Sportsmen's Club closed this week after the town demanded more protection for neighbors during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Michael LaRocca was among a group of residents who brought his concerns to town officials. Since he moved to the new Viewpoint Estates development in Camillus, police have reviewed three reports of bullets hitting homes. A fourth claim surfaced this week.

"It started a couple of years ago, our neighbors right next door came back from a function and noticed a hole in their window. They went down...on their rug was a bullet," recalled Michael LaRocca. "Every time we hear a gunshot at the range, we're all looking at each other like should we go in the backyard? What should we do? You just shouldn't have to live like that."

Town and state police were tasked with finding the source of damage by trying to pinpoint the possible trajectory of a bullet. Using the angles of the hole, they calculated a range of possibilities with a straight line leading back to the Camillus Sportsmen's Club. Chief Winn says the shots could have come from behind the club as well.

"We are not here to say that these rounds were definitively shot from the Camillus Sportsmen's Club, but it's a high probability that they were," said Camillus Police Chief Thomas Winn.

The results of the police investigation prompted town officials to shut down high powered shooting, giving the club 24-hours to address safety concerns.

Club officials aren't convinced that their range is the source of trouble. The president of the organization hopes the investigation will continue to consider other possibilities.

Chief Winn says club members have cooperated with the town's order. An upcoming tournament is in jeopardy since shooters can't use the range while it is shut down.

The club took over the property in the 1960's, long before Viewpoint Estates was built. They have a special use permit for the range.

LaRocca doesn't want the club to go out of business, but he's relieved they're taking a break while the town reviews neighbor's questions.

"Right now it has only been wood, it's been mortar, it's been plaster, it's been glass...all replaceable. You can't replace somebody's life or somebody's limb," LaRocca said.

Chief Winn has asked people in the Viewpoint Estates area to check their roofs and garages and siding to look for possible bullet holes. If damage is found, neighbors can contact the Camillus Police Department at 487-0102.

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