Off-roaders' close call with stray bullets at Red Sands leads to call for more safety
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
Off-roaders at Red Sands are finding themselves in the crossfire of target shooters in the desert.
Red Sands is a popular destination for both off-roaders and shooters alike. The problem, however, is stray bullets.
“Anytime you mix two different activities together such as shooting and off-roading together in the same proximity, that opens up the possibility of someone getting injured,” said Texas Recreational Safety and Land Management director Jamil Moutran.
The Texas Recreational Safety and Land Management is a non-profit made up of first responders who keep people in the Red Sands area safe.
It’s relatively new -- made up of a staff of around 14 people who patrol the area seven days a week.
Just this weekend, the agency responded to an incident call involving a firearm.
“They were basically being shot at. There was bullets landing around them,” Moutran said.
When first responders arrived, they found several targets set up on a popular riding trail.
The bullets were headed towards riders, and towards cars on Montana Avenue.
Texas Recreational Safety and Land Management dealt with eight total firearms incidents this weekend.
Moutran told KFOX14 they have recently seen an increase in cases like these.
Some riders said they stay away from Red Sands on the weekends because of how hazardous it can be.
“I avoid Sundays completely. I mean, just precautions. Avoid a situation before you can create one,” rider Arturo Garcia said.
“(Target shooters) may not be aware that this is a very active riding area so we provide that info to them and then we recommend that they relocate to a different area that may be a little bit safer,” Moutran said.
While shooting isn’t allowed in the Red Sands recreation area itself, it’s allowed in other parts nearby.
Stray bullets can travel as far as 1 mile away from where they were originally shot.
Moutran encourages target shooters in these areas to aim towards a good backdrop, like the coves that are located on the side of rock formations.
“It’s a family environment. Be safe -- think before you act. It’s easier to prevent something than it is to ask for forgiveness after you’ve created something,” Garcia said.