Lee County RV community concerned about gunshots New Year’s Eve

Neighbors in a Southwest Florida community are urging gun owners to leave their weapons safely at home during New Year’s celebrations Thursday.

Last New Year’s Eve, stray bullets ripped holes through the roofs of a families’ home at Cypress Trails RV Resort in Lee County.

“That’s what people need to think about before they just, bang, bang, bang in the air,” said Phil Smith at the RV park. “It’s dangerous.”

What goes up must come down. It has the community on edge, with the bullet holes to back up their fears.

Neighbors got clear views of the sky during the 2020 celebration after bullets ripped into their homes.

“They’ve come through our motorhomes,” Susan York said. “Somebody found it on the pillow. Somebody found it on the living room floor.”

York and Smith heard what sounded like a warzone last New Year’s Eve.

“It was nonstop for at least 15 to 20 minutes, I believe, and it was scary,” Smith said. “I mean, it really was, and as people got home, they found projectiles laying on their bed.”

People will sometimes illegally shoot into the air to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another. Fears for Cypress Trails have increased, as more people celebrate at home and outside because of the pandemic.

“More targets and more potential for people shooting too,” Smith said.

It’s not isolated to the Cypress Trails community. The pastor of a nearby church can’t hold an outdoor New Year’s Eve service because of it.

“Every year, somebody gets hit with a bullet that came out of the sky. That went up and came down,” said Pastor Rickey Anderson Sr. Of Followers of Christ Fellowship Ministries.

Back at the RV park, Don Arnold worries close calls will become deadly hits.

“It sends a chill through you,” Arnold said. “I was down near my cargo trailer, and I just happen to look up, and there was a bullet hole in it. I could’ve been in there.”

Fort Myers Police Department told us bullets can travel far distances and still claim lives. You can also face criminal charges for shooting into the air. If you see or hear gunfire, call police.

This year’s New Year’s resolution is to keep Southwest Florida’s skies bullet-free.

“I don’t think that’s a New Year’s present you want from anybody, and we don’t want to lose anyone either,” York said.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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