Broken Arrow Police closing firing range

Tuesday, August 2nd 2005, 4:11 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A police firing range will remain closed after tests on a bullet that struck a building about one mile from the range failed to determine if the projectile came from a police weapon.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's lab in Oklahoma City conducted the tests and determined that the range in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow could not be ruled out as the source of the bullet. Broken Arrow police announced Tuesday that tests on the projectile and three officers' weapons were inconclusive.

Authorities had been called Thursday to a home when a resident noticed that a bullet had damaged an outbuilding, according to Broken Arrow police. About the same time as the bullet damage was reported, three officers had been on the firing range, police said. Investigators recovered the bullet and took it along with the three weapons being used on the range to the OSBI lab.

As a result of the findings, the range will be closed until appropriate improvements can be made to ensure public safety, according to the department. Earthworks that stand 15 feet to 20 feet high to prevent errant rounds from leaving the range will likely be raised, Maj. Norman Stephens said.

``Our concern is to err on the side of caution,'' Stephens said. ``We're not going to take a chance.''

Broken Arrow Police have operated the firing range at its present location for more than 25 years. The shooting that was taking place Thursday was similar to the type of shooting that has taken place on the range over the years, Stephens said.

``When the range was put in, we were out in the country,'' Stephens said. ``Over the years, there has been some encroachment.''

While city engineers were still working on the site, Stephens said the ultimate cost and duration of the project remained unknowns.

``It will take as long as it takes to make the necessary changes,'' he said.