EATON TWP. — A recently released police report contains more details about a Dye Road shooting incident where a house was peppered with bullets from a high-powered rifle that was being shot at a stack of logs.
Eric Pylo, 23, of Middleburg Heights, and Kyle Strock, 21, of Strongsville, both were arrested and received felony charges of tampering with evidence and obstructing official business after the Jan. 24 incident in which the home of Tom Edwards was shot numerous times.
The police report was received Wednesday after deputies, who said they faxed it Friday, sent it. The Sheriff’s Office said the report was faxed Friday immediately after it was requested and expressed frustration over a Tuesday Chronicle-Telegram editorial that said the report had not been sent.
According to the report, Edwards was in the kitchen area of his home when heard gunfire from the south, and a window exploded.
Three rounds entered Edwards’ home, according to the report, and the first round missed him by about 10 feet when it came through the window. The other rounds entered the home near a back door and went through a wall about three to four feet away from where Edwards was standing near a kitchen pantry.
The rounds, which were either 5.56- or .223-caliber, went through walls and traveled through doors inside the home, according to a report. A fourth round may have hit the home’s foundation, although a round wasn’t located.
Edwards, who grabbed his jacket and ran from the home in fear for his life, drove to Cooley Road to locate the shooters. He found Pylo and Strock who he saw quickly gathering gun cases, according to the report.
Neither of the men would acknowledge Edwards when he told them they had just shot his home, the report said.
Deputies found Pylo and Strock at the home of Pylo’s grandfather, who wasn’t home. The grandfather told deputies the men didn’t have permission to shoot on his property.
Pylo and Strock told deputies they were shooting a .22-caliber rifle, 12 gauge shotgun and a pistol, but both denied shooting a .223 or 5.56 type bullet or rifle of those calibers. They showed deputies where they shot from and a backstop which was made of a few pieces of lumber about three feet high and two feet wide, according to the report.
When deputies asked Strock to see the spent shell casings he opened the trunk of his car and showed them a steel box that contained numerous spent 5.56 rifle rounds, according to the report.
Deputies then saw a black nylon gun case tucked behind a speaker box in the trunk, according to the report, but Strock told deputies the case was empty.
Deputies opened the case and found a 5.56 caliber rifle inside, according to the report, and the barrel of the gun was still warm and smelled of gunpowder. The ammunition the rifle uses matched the ammunition found in Edwards’ home, the report said.
The cases of both Pylo and Strock were bound over to Lorain County Common Pleas Court when the men appeared Friday in Elyria Municipal Court, where they entered no plea. They may also face additional charges of discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises.
Changes at state level
Numerous residents in Eaton Township, and also some residents in Columbia Township, many of whom are also gun owners, have complained to township trustees recently about gunfire coming across their property or hitting homes and outbuildings.
Bullets hitting homes does not appear to be an incident isolated to Pylo and Strock, because other residents have said they’ve experienced the same problems.
Many would like to see more authority given to township trustees or handed down from the state to regulate shooting on private property so that it is done safely. The residents, none of whom want to see shooting completely outlawed and who have indicated guns are a part of rural life, would also like to see stiffer penalties for those who hit homes when firing weapons.
But trustees have said their hands are largely tied since townships cannot create zoning restrictions regarding shooting on private property.
Those living in townships can shoot whatever type of weapons they want on their property and state law doesn’t set restrictions regarding lot size or whether certain backstops must be used when firing weapons.
State Rep. Dick Stein, R-Norwalk, who represents the 57th House District, which includes Eaton and Columbia Townships, said he’s interested in meeting with residents to work toward a solution.
Stein said he has received a call from a constituent in Columbia Township regarding bullets hitting homes.
“We have laws on the books which should prohibit this and are punishable,” Stein said referring to improper discharge of a firearm into a habitation or school safety zone.
Stein said giving townships more authority to regulate gunfire would likely become a constitutional battle.
“My understanding is that when this has been tried elsewhere it has been deemed unconstitutional,” Stein said. “From our perspective, we are certainly willing to meet with residents and law enforcement to figure out how we can solve this and still be constitutional.”
State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, said she too would be willing to look for a solution that would help residents while also being mindful of the Second Amendment.
“You don’t want someone hitting some else’s property,” Manning said. “What if they are sitting at a window when one of those bullets comes through it?”
State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, did not return numerous calls seeking comment about the issue.
This story has been edited to reflect the following correction: The caliber of a bullet was incorrectly listed. It’s 5.56-caliber.