The Old Howertons Road Subdivision in Essex County may become a quieter community to visit after the Board of Supervisors voted Oct. 9 to add the subdivision to the county’s ordinance that prohibits the firing of guns in high density areas.
The action came after hearing complaints from residents of Old Howertons regarding one individual who, along with his son, have been firing assault weapons and high-powered rifles in the subdivision. The residents claimed that the two individuals, who remain unnamed, were discharging their firearms without concern for their actions or their neighbors’ safety.
Concerned citizen Glenn Francis likened the situation in Old Howertons to a war zone.
“When this guy breaks out all of his guns, and he and his stepson get outside, the neighbors call all of the kids in and everybody just closes all of their doors and just waits for the firing to get over with,” Francis said. “It’s just a really big giant abomination on our part.”
Faye Davis, who requested that Old Howertons Subdivision be added to the county ordinance during the Board of Supervisors’ Sept. 11 meeting, said that 12 children live in the nine-home subdivision and more children frequent the community to visit relatives.
Davis related the episodes of the grandchildren of one resident who owns a 5.5 acre farm at the Virginia Davis house in the subdivision.
“They’ve had occasions where they’ve had the grandchildren down there fishing or walking around the pond. Bullets have been coming over their head and they’ve had to run for cover,” Davis stated.
Davis added that one couple, who lives in the cul de sac where much of the alleged firing has taken place, no longer feel safe letting their children play outside.
Central District Supervisor Edwin “Bud” Smith asked the citizens of Old Howertons in attendance if they tried talking to the individuals about ceasing gun fire in the locality. Davis said that they have.
“The individual says he’s not going to shoot, and then that night he comes right out there with the guns again,” Davis said.
Francis, a trucker during the evenings who moved to the community for its quietness, said “I have to wear earplugs in my ears during the day, because you can hear them out there firing.”
Francis also admitted to having been confrontational with the gun owners.
“I come up there to his property and tell him not to fire that gun, and then he told me I needed to get out of there if I didn’t want to get shot,” Francis said. “He got up in my face, and he and his son said, ‘If we wanted you dead, you’d be dead by now.’ That’s their mentality.”
The citizens of Old Howertons stressed that, without an ordinance in place to discourage the discharging of firearms in their neighborhood, the police will not be able to act unless there is an accident.