An Ashburn man charged with reckless handling of a firearm in September was found not guilty Wednesday in Loudoun County General District Court.
William R. Hymes III, the defendant, was connected to a case in which a woman was grazed in the arm by a stray bullet. The event occurred in the 39600 block of Gable Farm Lane between Leesburg and Hamilton.
Law enforcement determined the shots came from a private property nearby where people were target shooting. Suspects reportedly involved were identified, and the weapons were recovered, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.
NBC4 Washington reported that the judge on Wednesday was unable to determine who shot the bullet that grazed the victim.
The incident occurred at the height of reported gunfire and stray bullets traveling across Loudoun County properties. County officials say at least 20 instances of errant gunfire have occurred in recent years, and in three of those cases people were struck. Three people have been charged in those cases, though none have been convicted.
On Dec. 11, the Loudoun's Board of Supervisors voted to amend its county ordinance, Section 684.03(d), to include in the 100-yard discharge ban “all occupied structures” and to adopt Section 684.03(e), which will make it a violation for projectiles to leave the boundaries of a property unless permission has been given by the adjacent property owner. (See full motions below.)
The Loudoun County commonwealth’s attorney’s office was not immediately available for comment.
Motions approved on Dec. 11:
-I move that the Board of Supervisors approve and adopt amended language to the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County Section 684.03(d), “the discharge of firearms is prohibited within 100 yards of a building with a current occupancy permit and/or regularly occupied structure, unless the owner or authorized agent has given permission” as provided in Attachment 1 to the December 11, 2019, Board of Supervisors Public Hearing Staff Report.
-I further move that the Board of Supervisors approve and adopt new language creating new Section 684.03(e) in the Codified Ordinances of Loudoun County stating, “The discharge of firearms for recreational or target shooting purposes shall be conducted in such a manner as to ensure that projectiles do not leave the boundaries of the property or parcel upon which the shooting is occurring, unless permission to do so has been granted by the owner of the property or parcel upon which the projectile lands. A projectile leaving the boundaries of the property or parcel shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section” as provided in Attachment 1 to the December 11, 2019, Board of Supervisors Public Hearing Staff Report.