Tamaqua man said he was cleaning gun; stray bullet went in neighbor’s house
A picture of the bullet that almost hit Bates in her bathroom. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.
The hole that was blasted through the second-story bathroom window on Monday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.
A Tamaqua woman was having a typical Monday afternoon when it unexpectedly took a turn for the worse.
Kristina Bates, of Lombard Street, was in her bathroom when a bullet pierced through her window and almost hit her in the head.
“It happened so fast,” Bates said. “I heard this loud bang and I thought, what is that? At first I thought it was the shampoo bottle hitting the shower, because sometimes it happens from the wind. I got up and saw it wasn’t the bottle. I saw this pebble on the ground.
“At first, I thought my husband threw something up to me from downstairs. I’m calling him from upstairs and I said, ‘What is that? It scared me.’ I was on the toilet!”
But her husband and daughter were away shopping. Bates then realized she was alone in the house.
“I picked up the object on the ground and it was hot — it was a bullet. I was like, are you serious? Where did this come from? I opened the curtain right by where I was sitting and there was a bullet hole. I couldn’t believe it. I called my husband and he rushed home.”
Immediately after discovering the bullet, she called the police, who according to Bates, took it for evidence.
A police report released on Thursday morning indicated that Devin Michael Lockhart, 22, of Tamaqua, called Tamaqua police on Monday to report that he had accidentally shot his refrigerator with his .45-caliber handgun.
After speaking with Bates, police went to Lockhart’s house on Lehigh Street, where he claimed to be cleaning his guns.
He said he didn’t know a round was in the chamber, and he shot through the back of his refrigerator, through his window, and into Bates’ window.
“My bathroom is on the second floor,” said Bates. “It’s on the side where all of the houses are. That’s why I’m so confused as to how it hit my house. It’s almost impossible from the location where it’s at ... What are the odds? It’s like a one-in-a-million shot.”
Bates, a current grad student, has been living with her family on Lombard street for about four years. The house is roughly 1,000 feet away from the Tamaqua Elementary School property.
“I was worried at first. I didn’t know if it was somebody driving up Lehigh street and just shot at my house for some unknown reason. But I know about the hunters; the hunters all surround where my house is. But it’s not even hunting season, so I thought it was people playing around not knowing where they were shooting and it hit my house.”
Bates said she has been hearing shots ring off in her neighborhood all week. “Luckily it happened on Labor Day and nobody was around,” she said. “What happens if that hits a kid? Even though that happened on Monday, I still heard shots both this morning (Wednesday) and yesterday. Hunting still hasn’t stopped around the school. I don’t know how they’re not stressing that major issue.”
Police said Lockhart will be charged with recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct.