Dangerous gunfire in the air over Brandermill - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Dangerous gunfire in the air over Brandermill


Even after a 7-year-old was killed by stray gunfire in Brandermill, bullets continue to fly in the neighborhood.

It may be another few weeks before we know if the gun confiscated from a former Chesterfield firefighter matches the bullet that killed 7-year-old Brendon Mackey. Mackey was struck in the head by random celebratory gunfire, as he watched fireworks in Brandermill on July 4, 2013.

Detectives have always maintained the .40 caliber gun was fired within a one-mile radius of Sunday Park, where Mackey was killed. NBC12 has uncovered evidence that gunfire is continuing in the Brandermill area.

When patients heard a chirping noise from a storm drain at the Stony Point Medical Complex, the Richmond Wildlife Center got the call. Within minutes the Executive Director of the non-profit, devoted to the rescue of wild animals in distress, scooped up 13 mallard ducklings and reunited them with their mother at a nearby pond.

But recently, some of Melissa Stanley's rescues haven't had a happy ending.

"It's foot was broken - it couldn't land," she said.

In the past five weeks, four vultures have been found shot in the Chesterfield-Powhatan corridor. Stanley says her group did everything they could to save the vulture, but it died. As alarming as that is, it's fortunate no human lives were lost, because this happened in a populated, residential neighborhood.

"It was in Salisbury, so that's not an area in which shotguns or any firearms should be discharged," said Stanley.

That's not the only residential area seeing birds shot. In Brandermill, there have been two: a Canada Goose and a seagull, right in the vicinity of Sunday Park, where there are children playing virtually every day.

The park is just yards away from where 7-year-old Brendon Mackey was fatally shot by celebratory gunfire, as he walked with his father to see Fourth of July fireworks in Brandermill. After the tragedy this neighborhood has endured, residents are outraged that someone would even consider firing a gun around here.

"I read about it every week... and its just astounding that people would be that ignorant to continue to do something like that," Brandermill resident Joan Miller said.

"It's unbelievable. It's pretty much the most irresponsible thing I've ever heard," added Andrew Ilnicki who frequents Sunday Park.

The Richmond Wildlife Center operates from the upstairs of the Winterfield Veterinary Hospital.  The vets help all they can and donate the use of their surgical suites here.  

The doctor's did extensive reconstructive surgery on the goose, placing pins in its leg, but minutes after surgery the bird went into respiratory failure and died, as did the seagull.

Especially distressing, the gull was shot with it's wings flapping, which can only mean it was shot in mid-air.

"When you're shooting birds in the air, and you miss your target you're jeopardizing the lives of the general public," Stanley said.

Firing a gun in Brandermill could lead to charges of reckless handling of a firearm and discharging a firearm within 600 feet of another dwelling. What happened in Sunday Park is also a federal offense, because Canada Geese are federally protected migratory birds.

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