A wayward bullet tore through a shared wall in a New Hope townhome complex, barely missing a brother and sister playing a board game in the kitchen and sending the kids and their mother racing into the bathroom for cover.
The negligent gunshot from a next-door neighbor pierced the wall about 4 p.m. Saturday at the Winnetka Green Townhomes in the 5500 block of Elm Grove and by just feet missed hitting the youngsters or their mother inside, police said Monday.
Less than 48 hours later, the woman remained incredulous that such an incident could occur.
“This is chaos,” the mother of the 14-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, who asked that her name not be disclosed, said Monday. “These are my beautiful children, playing a game in their own house, threatened. This is not OK.”
Police Capt. Scott Slawson said “everyone is fortunate that this happened and no one was hurt.”
The gun owner who lives in the adjoining townhome spoke with police investigators and “is cooperating,” Slawson said, couching that with a touch of skepticism about how the weapon went off.
He said the gun fired “while he was cleaning his firearms,” which included handguns and rifles, the captain said. “The gun has to be loaded and the trigger has to be pulled for the gun to be fired. After that, you kind of draw your own assumptions” about that account.
He said his department is awaiting ballistics test results before revealing what type of gun was fired.
Slawson said the 44-year-old man stands accused of gross misdemeanor illegal discharge of a weapon and awaits charging. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged. Messages were left with him Monday seeking comment.
The bullet went through the woman’s living room wall, “sailed across the kitchen” within about 5 feet of the children before lodging in the bottom of a kitchen cupboard, said the 45-year-old mother, who was in another room at the time.
She recalled that the gunshot “made an unbelievable noise [and] had us running toward an inside room, had us holding each other in fear, had us hugging each other, not knowing what was going to happen. … I didn’t know what that noise was.”
Fearing for their lives, they hid in the bathroom while Mom called 911. “We were lucky,” she said.