Stray gunshots pepper Edinburg neighborhood

A rear window of a white 2016 Ford Explorer was reportedly damaged as a result of bullets or shrapnel from a nearby firing range in Edinburg on Friday. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/The Monitor

MATTHEW WILSON AND FRANCISCO E. JIMENEZ | STAFF WRITERS 

The 3800 block of Jutland Street in Northeast Edinburg was peppered by gunfire originating from an Edinburg Police Department gun range Friday afternoon, according to law enforcement and witnesses at the scene.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said that a stray bullet from the range struck an elderly man, but the projectile did not penetrate the individual’s skin and the injury did not appear to be serious.

No other injuries have been reported, but residents in the neighborhood reported bullets or shrapnel striking homes and vehicles.

Guerra wrote on Twitter Friday that deputies responded to the site, where they discovered that the shots were coming from the Edinburg police gun range.

Edinburg police spokesperson Sarah Rodriguez issued a statement Friday evening saying the department was aware of the incident and is conducting its own investigation while also working in conjunction with the sheriff’s office.

“Training was being conducted at the Edinburg PD firing range located at the 1300 block of North Doolittle Rd. and has since been closed pending investigation,” the statement read. “We are also conducting our own administrative investigation into the incident.”

The sheriff’s office is leading the formal investigation into the incident.

“This was an isolated incident with minimal/close to non-serious injuries,” the statement read. “Once everything has come to light in this investigation we will gladly give out more details regarding this matter.”

Jose Reyes, an Edinburg resident and a relative of the man hit by a projectile, said he and his family had gathered outside a home in the neighborhood after his father-in-law’s funeral when they noticed bullets striking the area.

“We could hear bullets ricocheting throughout the neighborhood,” he said. “We rushed all the kids inside, everybody rushed inside. Some people started to leave; they didn’t want to be here.”

Once inside, Reyes said heard repeated gunshots.

“I could clearly hear the gunshots coming from the firing range, and it sounded like they were going at it — heavy,” he said. “It sounded like a freakin’ battle.”

Reyes said that the gunfire ceased shortly after deputies arrived. He said his relative was hit in the leg and was not visibly injured, but later complained of pain and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Members of the funeral gathering say the incident was a traumatic experience.

“I’m from El Paso, Texas,” said Alyssa Morris, whose Ford Explorer was damaged in the incident. “We’re just here for a funeral. I mean, my parents experienced the Walmart shooting in El Paso, so my mom was scared when she was hearing the gunshots. That’s why I was trying to calm her down. They were at Sam’s Club when it was happening in the parking lot. She was like trying to move and weave away. I was like, ‘Mom, it’s firecrackers.’ Then we noticed it was gunshots. It’s just been a horrible experience.”