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Air rifle shooting spree in Berlin

Charges pending or filed against two juveniles, one Pittsville man after incident
By Josh Davis | Sep 14, 2017
Source: PHOTO COURTESY BERLIN POLICE DEPARTMENT Several high-powered air rifles were seized in Berlin last week, as two juveniles and one adult were charged in conjunction with a series of shootings of property, moving vehicles and animals.

 

(Sept. 15, 2017) Berlin Police said charges were pending or have been filed against a man and two juveniles in connection with a series of high-powered air rifle attacks on property, moving vehicles and animals near Maple Avenue and Branch and Flowers streets over a period of several months – or possibly more than a year.

Lt. Jeffrey Lawson said town workers notified police that someone had been shooting street lights after attempting to replace a light bulb in a light in the area last week.

“When one of the town employees was in the process of removing the light, there was a whole slew of BBs that ran out of the bottom of the light,” Lawson said. “I counted in excess of 15 shots in one particular light.”

Local police went on to find that other street lights on Maple Avenue had been similarly damaged. An abandoned house on Maple Avenue was also shot up, and Lawson said police were in the process of contacting the owners to get an estimate of the damage.

“That house was estimated to have been struck about 50 times,” he said. “There were holes all over it.”

Police also investigated two incidents that occurred in August when moving motor vehicles were shot by air rifles. One such attack shattered the rear window of a commercial vehicle traveling north on Worcester Highway near Branch Street, while another shooting damaged the right rear passenger door of a passenger-vehicle traveling north on Flower Street.

Lawson said all of the events appeared to be confined to the area of Maple Avenue and Flower Street. He said police believe shots on the commercial vehicle were fired from Dr. William Henry Park.

The investigation led to the arrest of Kory Causey, 18, of Pittsville. Lawson said Causey would be charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and malicious destruction of property. Charges were pending as of Tuesday.

“The investigation showed that he’s the one that actually fired a shot that struck a passenger vehicle occupied by [an] elderly female on Flower Street,” Lawson said. “The assault comes in where there was an occupied vehicle. The damage that was done to the vehicle was significant and … if it would have [gone] through a window and struck an individual, it could have caused serious, bodily injury or, potentially, death.”

According to the release, two boys, ages 15 and 17, admitted to damaging the lights and the house, and several air rifles and one firearm were found at their residence and seized.

The suspects also confessed to shooting “several wild and domestic animals.” They were charged through the Department of Juvenile Justice with reckless endangerment and two counts of malicious destruction of property.

Lawson said the two juvenile suspects were related and live in the same household.

All of the damages were caused by air rifles, Lawson said. The firearm, he said, was seized because “it came back with a potential hit as possibly being stolen.”

“With older firearms, it’s very difficult. We have to wait until a trace comes back to be able to conclusively rule out that it’s not stolen,” he said.

He said three of the air rifles recovered were high-end, similar to those used in shooting competitions.

“They’re probably the highest-power air guns that you can purchase and they do ballistics that will equal some firearms,” Lawson said. “These rifles are built for both power and accuracy, and they’re actually built to be accurate at a longer distance.”

Two additional handgun-type air rifles were found “at an auxiliary location,” Lawson said.

Lawson said police were investigating several additional suspects for having a secondary role in the incidents.

“We do believe we’ve identified all the suspects that were the main players and were the main ones that fired at the vehicles,” he said. “Additional charges are in the process of being filed.”

As for a motive, Lawson said all of the suspects “seemed to have an interest in hunting and firearms.”

“I think the part about actually shooting occupied vehicles is just the kick of it,” he said.

“We’re just grateful that it was a streetlight that led us to the break [in the case] as opposed to somebody else being injured,” Lawson continued. “This activity has been going on for quite a while and it’s worked up until what brought us into it … this is over the course of possibly up to months and even over a year.”

The Berlin Police Department asked that anyone with information on damaged property or unusual occurrences in the general area during the months of August and September to contact police at 410-641-1333. It is unlawful to discharge any firearm within town limits, including BB guns and air rifles, police said.

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