Thursday, December 02, 2004
By PRECIOUS PETTY
N. WHITEHALL TWP. -- State police are investigating whether a stray bullet
that seriously injured a pregnant woman outside her home Tuesday afternoon
was fired from a hunter's gun.
Casey Burns, 18, of the 1500 block of Clearview Road was listed in critical
condition Wednesday night at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township,
hospital officials said. She is seven months pregnant with her first child.
Police and Burns' family members say she was sitting behind the wheel
of a vehicle in her driveway about 4:45 p.m. when a bullet shattered the
front driver's side window and struck her in the head.
"We've interviewed several hunters that were in the area at the time," said
state police Capt. Scott Snyder of Troop M in Bethlehem.
"Our investigation is not complete yet and we haven't come to a definitive
conclusion, but it seems likely that it was a stray bullet from a hunter," he
Burns' home is surrounded by privately owned land that is suitable for
hunting, Snyder said. He did not say how many hunters police interviewed
in connection with the shooting, or whether any of them had permission
from the property owner to be there Tuesday.
Monday marked the first day of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania, and
Snyder said incidents involving stray bullets are common around this time.
"Typically, every year during the first couple days of hunting season
there are incidents of rifle rounds that strike buildings or cars," he
said. "Certainly the one where the woman was struck is a tragic set
If Burns' shooting proves to be the result of careless hunting, it would
be the second such incident in Lehigh County since deer season began.
Brian Mack of Washington Township reported that rifle rounds passed through
three walls at his Mack Lane home about 7:30 a.m. Monday. No one was hurt
in that incident.
Snyder said potential charges for a hunter involved in an accidental shooting
vary depending on the result, and range from summary to felony offenses.
A message left for the Burns family on Wednesday night was not returned.
Reporter Precious Petty can be reached at 610-867-5000 or by e-mail at
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