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Police investigating 'wayward bullets' that hit Belchertown homes

Belchertown police car
Belchertown Police Department / Facebook
Belchertown Police Department / Facebook
A police cruiser in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

Law enforcement officials are continuing to investigate what they've described as "wayward bullets" that have struck two separate homes in Belchertown over the last nine months.

In a statement, the Northwestern District Attorney's Office said that the bullets hit two houses on Mountain View Drive, which is located around one mile from the Granby Bow & Gun Club.

However, the DA’s office said it could not determine the origin of the first bullet, which shattered a house's glass door on June 27, 2023. A second bullet hit a different house on March 29, 2024, shattering a sliding glass door while the owners were at home. Authorities have sent that bullet to the Massachusetts State Police Firearms Identification Section for analysis, according to the DA’s office.

“These incidents have understandably caused the residents of this neighborhood a tremendous amount of fear and concern for their safety,” Belchertown Police Chief Kevin Pacunas said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to determine where these errant bullets are coming from, and to prevent it from happening again.”

Connecticut-based lawyer Martha Dean, who represents the Granby Bow & Gun Club, has said that the club’s own investigation “indicates it is not responsible for the Belchertown incidents.”

“There are a large number of potential sources of stray bullets in the Belchertown and Granby areas,” said Dean, whose law practice often defends outdoor shooting ranges in litigation.

Dean declined to comment further due to the fact that the “Belchertown residents’ claims are actively under investigation by law enforcement at this time.”

Neighbors in Belchertown and Granby have previously raised concerns about stray bullets, as well as noise and environmental complaints, related to a 1,000-yard shooting range that the gun club built on its 85 Chicopee St. property in 2016. Granby's Zoning Board of Appeals issued cease-and-desist orders to the gun club in 2017, seeking to ban the club from using them. However, the club sued and in 2022 the state's Land Court sided with the club.

The DA’s office and local police are asking the public for any information related to the shooting incidents on Mountain View Drive.

“Anyone with information pertaining to either of these incidents is encouraged to contact Sergeant Robert Mann of the Belchertown Police Department at (413) 323-6685 ext. 279,” the DA’s office said in its statement.

Dusty Christensen is an investigative reporter based in western Massachusetts. He currently teaches news writing and reporting at UMass Amherst.
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