Jerome Doctor Hit by Stray Bullet Near Devil’s Corral
JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Dr. Andrew Schweitzer, a third-year medical resident at St. Luke's Jerome, said he and another doctor went out riding mules near Devil's Corral when he was hit with a stray bullet.
"It hit me, knocked me back, knocked the wind out of me and I didn't know if I was actually, how bad I was injured," he said.
Dr. James Irwin said he was only two feet away from Schweitzer when he was hit.
"My next thought is get him up and let's get the heck out of here," Irwin said.
Schweitzer thinks the bullet was a 9 mm bullet.
"It was really lucky, I mean, had that bullet been a little higher it could have caught my throat, or an eye, and certainly a higher velocity, would be a whole different story," he said.
He said there was a welt after the bullet hit him, just hitting his chest and not going through.
"We both took cover and he looked under my shirt to see if it had gone into my chest, and it had not. Just was a welt there and so we were pretty lucky at that point," he said.
Schweitzer and Irwin both said they heard bullets in the air when they were unsaddling the mules.
"People are almost always shooting out there, unfortunately, and it's not a safe place," Irwin said.
Schweitzer said they went around and found people shooting, but were unsure if the bullet was from them.
"We went and talked to them and asked them to stop shooting, and told them what happened, and they were very sorry that this had occurred," he said.
Schweitzer said the people told him they'd never shot in that location before.
"There was other people recreating besides ourselves and there was bullets that were heard ricocheting all around the area, so clearly a safety issue," he said.
Devil's Corral owner George Panagiotou said he's not surprised it happened.
"It was due to happen. We were lucky that it wasn't worse than what it is," Panagiotou said.
He said he's had friends that are afraid to go to Devil's Corral as they've had holes in their windshields and have bullets go by them.
"It has been a constant reminder that this is not a place for shooting any longer," he said.
Jerome County Commissioners have been trying to put an ordinance in place to restrict shooting in some areas.
Cathy Roemer, a commissioner with the county, said it's been a slow process, as the commissioners did send a letter to the Idaho Department of Lands back in December.
Part of that land is leased under the Bureau of Land Management and another part of the property is owned by the Idaho Department of Lands.
The BLM said the commissioners can restrict shooting that is being leased by them, but the Department of Lands is a little more tricky.
"Definitely in favor of putting the property that we govern off limits for shooting, particularly after this incident. It's more fervent than ever and we'll try and work things out with the Idaho Department of Lands," she said over the phone.
Roemer said they will be discussing the issue on Feb. 12, but will not have any decision as not all the commissioners will be there.
"It was definitely a pretty terrifying moment and I feel lucky to haev come through just fine and be able to tell the story as it is," Schweitzer said.