Investigation of Michigan Stray Bullet Near MSP Range

By Dean Weingarten

Investigation of Michigan Stray Bullet Near MSP Range
Investigation of Michigan Stray Bullet Near MSP Range
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)– There is a stray bullet investigation ongoing in the south of Michigan, in Northville Township. A window was shattered on about the 10th or 11th of October, 2017. I am skeptical of these type of incidents. They are quite rare. The image of an Iraqi woman showing investigators two complete rifle cartridges, that supposedly hit her residence, is memorable.

This incident appears to be real, not a hoax like the famous Iraqi incident. The window was shattered. It was broken in a believable way. The bullet was found with the shattered glass. The bullet looks fresh and has rifling marks. From clickondetroit.com:

Last year, two homes were hit by stray bullets. The gun range was shut down and modifications were made to ensure the neighborhood's safety.

Now, another home was hit by a bullet.

A resident on Crestview Circle came home to find his front door shattered and a bullet on the ground.

The Northville Township Police Department investigated and passed the recovered bullet on to MSP to see if it is one their rounds.

The distance from the Michigan State Police Laboratory and the broken window is 2,460 feet or 820 yards. The google maps image below shows the geometry. The direction of fire would have been nearly due South, as is shown in the image.

The distance from the Michigan State Police Laboratory and the broken window is 2,460 feet, or 820 yards.
The distance from the Michigan State Police Laboratory and the broken window is 2,460 feet, or 820 yards.

The distance is well within the maximum range of common pistol bullets. From the picture, I cannot tell if the projectile is a 9 mm or a .40 caliber. It might even be a .45 auto bullet. The Michigan State Police range is behind the Forensic laboratory. That puts it in a reasonable place to supply the bullet for the incident.

The distance is well within the maximum range of common pistol bullets.
The distance is well within the maximum range of common pistol bullets.

There was little energy left in the pistol bullet at that range. It would have been traveling down at a pretty steep angle. The velocity was probably in the 200-300 fps range. The combination of low velocity and a steep angel fits well with the damage done. Only the outside glass was broken. The glass and bullet fell outside. The inner, unbroken glass would direct the fragments to the outside, as there was not enough energy remaining to break the inside panes.

No one knows for certain if the bullet came from the Michigan Police Forensic Laboratory range. The distance is plausible. The bullet is plausible. The angles and damage are plausible.
No one knows for certain if the bullet came from the Michigan Police Forensic Laboratory range. The distance is plausible. The bullet is plausible. The angles and damage are plausible.

No one knows for certain if the bullet came from the Michigan Police Forensic Laboratory range. The distance is plausible. The bullet is plausible. The angles and damage are plausible. The rifling marks are clear. If there is a close match to a gun fired at the range that day, the circumstantial evidence will be complete.

Investigators at the MSP Forensics lab are baffled because the range has been specifically altered to make such an event impossible. But the possibility of human error is near infinite. What if a pistol was fired, at a high angle, by negligence, *before* being put in play at the range? A firearms instructor told me of exactly such an incident (that did not result in any damage), involving an officer, several years ago.

Many modern handguns use barrels that leave almost no distinguishing marks on the bullets fired. You can usually narrow the firearm down to a make and model or series of models. The manufacturing techniques have become so good, the barrels in some makes are extremely uniform. There are not sufficient differences in barrels to differentiate bullets fired from individual pistols.

There are other potential sources. In the Google maps image, you can see the wooded area between the house and the lab gets a lot of use. A person could have fired a pistol in that area, the bullet could have ricocheted off of a hard object, and ended up breaking the house window. The bullet nose shows significant deformation, more than seems likely from hitting a single pane of glass at such a low level of energy. The bullet most likely was deformed by an impact before the house window was hit. A bullet would normally be de-stabilized after hitting an object that deformed it that much. A de-stabilized bullet quickly loses energy as it travels through the atmosphere.

No one was hit. The danger was fairly small. If hit just wrong, an adult could have lost an eye or a couple of teeth. A young child might have been severely wounded, possibly even killed, if hit exactly wrong. Stray bullets are a danger but are rarely lethal. Pistol bullets, at nearly half a mile, are unlikely to break skin if the skin is protected by a layer of clothing. The velocity is about the same as such a projectile would receive from a high powered slingshot.

If the MSP lab was involved, it is a serious embarrassment, but a cheap lesson.

Pay to fix the window and tighten up the range and firing procedures.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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    Roy D.Mark DittellDonWsteve mc taggartMarkd Recent comment authors
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    Markd
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    Markd

    Is it me or am I just paranoid this article says Iraqi woman, correct as such she is NON-citizen, as such they are not allowed to own guns or ammo. This causes me even greater concern that the other postings, with the flat chisel tip and such. This woman having ammunition she should not have in her hands is very very very troubling!

    DonW
    Guest
    DonW

    The Iraqi woman referred to was holding two unfired cartridges saying they had been shot at her home. It was a couple of years ago, whereas this incident is recent.

    Mark Dittell
    Guest
    Mark Dittell

    This article says Iraqi woman, as such she is NON-citizen, as such they are not allowed to own guns or ammo! Politically correct or not this Iraqi woman is not allowed to possess what she has in what she is holding it is a FELONY! Possession needs a full investigation how she came in possession was this a straw purchase ect. Come on libertards, your so fast wanting to take away everyone’s’ second amendments rights, well she has no right to be in possession of what she has! Get on it become enraged or are you snowflakes full of crap!… Read more »

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    Not paranoid, just ignorant. The Iraqi woman in question lived in Iraq and the incident occurred in 2007. There is this thing called “Google.” It can reduce your ignorance quotient.

    chuck
    Guest
    chuck

    in my world . the local range is used by the local police for training etc..well one day they were shooting and later a compliant was made that a house was hit …the house at least 1/2 a mile away and thou it is down range , the 1/2 mile is 150foot tall fir tree’s . these tree’s are very close together, grown for timber with “O” thining…the 9mm round went the garage wall….straight thru the wall…the round was paried with an officers pistol..the range was shut down for about a year for total rebuild, at the gun club’s expence.… Read more »

    VT Patriot
    Guest
    VT Patriot

    What the heck kind of ‘bullet’ is that? I’ve never seen a bullet that after being fired and hitting something hard wind up with a ‘chisel’ point on it. I also noticed the ‘point’ of the bullet is neatly exposed, ie all the exposed area of lead is neatly formed as if it had been filed to the final shape. Sorry guys, but I call BS on this whole thing. The range I belong to had a new neighbor that bought a home with a lot of land (27 acres) surrounding it. After having an appraiser look at the land… Read more »

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    Hope you clobbered the rat for all your costs from his frivolous lawsuit. Until this happens, such actions will continue. I think there should be some serious sanctions against attorneys who take up and prosecute such frivolous suits. That would make them quite chary of taking up such nonsens.

    rappini
    Guest
    rappini

    Sometime ago this kind of situation shut our club down for a year until the NRA approved our facility after we had baffles installed to avoid an errant bullet. But it never was proved that it was our Club. There was a neighbor who disliked our range and it was assumed that he picked up a bullet from the club and put it by his pool and called authorities. Heavy on assumed,

    joe martin
    Guest
    joe martin

    Someone needs to do a study and see how many rounds are fired at ranges across the county and how many incidents of “stray bullets” hitting residences occur. I would imagine the odds of your house being hit are somewhere between winning the Power Ball Lottery and getting struck by a meteorite. Leave it to the press to focus on and make news out of anything involving a gun.

    Andy Buckmichael
    Guest
    Andy Buckmichael

    When you are dealing with law enforcement you are not dealing with highly intelligent people.

    JS
    Guest
    JS

    The majority are pretty sharp. Its only the phuckups that make the news. Like any group of people there is a small percentage that should not be in that profession. They are the ones that we hear about.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    If we only knew what Andy B did for a living, we could do a comparative study of not smartness by occupation. So far I only know Andy so what ever he does the percentage of not smartness is %100. That means that if there is even one smart cop somewhere, law enforcement would have him beat.

    steve mc taggart
    Guest
    steve mc taggart

    Only an idiot would ever come up with a remark like that

    Roy D.
    Guest
    Roy D.

    I don’t know how many times I have told USPSA competitors that they need to have their muzzles pointed at the backstop when they are clearing their guns after shooting a stage. Because the range I shoot at is out in a rural area I guess they don’t think it will do any harm. However, other parts of the range are behind the berms and the “public” is within range of errant bullets. Everyone needs to have DRILLED into them that they own every bullet that they fire whether they meant to or not.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @Roy D, If you could disabuse your competitive shooters of the notion that there is nothing to hit in rural areas, I would appreciate it. Rural populations, structures, herds are greater than they have ever been before. I don’t need a hole in my barn roof or my cow!