GUYTON — Crossgate residents are counting on law enforcement agencies to shield them from a dangerous activity.
For more than a year, stray projectiles have occasionally landed in yards within the subdivision on Ga. Hwy 119 South. A few have reportedly struck houses.
“I’m not looking to infringe on anybody’s rights to shoot because we do butt up against some pretty large parcels — and I do understand that,” Crossgate resident Michelle Taylor said.
Taylor is an ardent proponent of gun rights but is concerned about the safety of children in the neighborhood.
“I don’t think this is an issue of target practice per se,” Taylor said. “I think someone is shooting up in the air. Whether they are uneducated or they just don’t care about where the bullets land is the biggest problem.”
Taylor said homeowners near her usher their children indoors when the shooting starts.
“This initially started last year with the (COVID-19) quarantine and it has kind of progressed,” Taylor said. “It comes from different sides.”
The Guyton Police Department and Effingham County Sheriff’s Office have responded to multiple calls about the projectiles. Crossgate is within Guyton’s city limits but it is believed that the projectiles are coming from outside its jurisdiction.
Effingham County has an ordinance that says, “It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any explosive, pistol, gun, or other weapon or instrument likely to produce injury to person or property, except in defense of person or property, within a radius of 300 yards from any occupied dwelling without the express permission of the occupant of such dwelling.”
“I actually left Florida from a very small town like Guyton that just exploded in population much like Effingham is right now,” Taylor said. “I get it. Some people are like, ‘Hey! I was here first and this is my property and I can shoot.’
“I respect that because that’s why I left Florida. Not that I was shooting at people but because of the growth.
“If you want to shoot, by all means, do it. Just do it safely.”
Guyton Police Chief James Breletic and Effingham County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Gena Sullivan said their agencies are working together on the case. Sullivan said the sheriff’s office is preparing a report about its findings.
Sgt. Danny Harrington of the sheriff’s office was in the subdivision last week to interview residents and collect a few projectiles, Taylor said.
“We are all in communication with each other now and working to find a safe and effective resolution,” Sullivan said. “... Please assure everyone this is being taken care of.”