Diane Hauxhurst’s 2017 got off to a scary start when a bullet – presumably fired by a not-so-smart New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day reveler – zipped through her unit in the De Luz Apartments on the 400 block of Pico Avenue in Fallbrook shortly after 2 a.m. Jan. 1.
“I was sleeping and what woke me was the noise coming through the wall,” said Hauxhurst, a nine-year resident at the complex for people age 55 and older. “I didn’t know what it was. It (the bullet) hit my Étagère (a piece of furniture in which she has her television) and then hit the window frame, which shook the wall and I heard tinkling.”
The tinkling was the sound of glass breaking from the force of the bullet hitting the window frame, which finally stopped the projectile that had traveled through Hauxhurst’s neighbor’s window and through a common wall in the apartment units. The bullet emerged from the wall in the kitchen/dining area in Hauxhurst’s unit and missed her television by a inch while going through the Étagère and into the window frame.
Upon hearing the noise, Hauxhurst’s first thought was that the large Christmas tree she had near the window in the living room had fallen. After seeing that the tree was stilling standing, Hauxhurst checked to see if there had been a car accident at the corner of Pico and Kalmia – “we have a lot of them,” she said – and didn’t see anything.
“So I just started looking around to see if something had fallen off my wall,” said Hauxhurst. “I was looking toward the dining room and I saw the hole, and I went, ‘Oh my gosh, what is that?’ I went over and looked and I said, ‘It’s a bullet hole.'”
Hauxhurst then spotted holes in her blinds and the broken glass.
“I was looking around and I thought, ‘Oh my God, somebody shot through my window,'” said Hauxhurst. “I thought it had come from that direction (from the front of the unit). But I found it didn’t when I learned about my neighbor’s window.”
Hauxhurst said the neighbor that had the bullet go through his window and wall said he “heard it, but didn’t get up.”
Hauxhurst called the Sheriff’s department, which, as usual, had received numerous calls about gunfire on New Year’s Eve. A deputy came to the complex, took a report and checked on Hauxhurst’s neighbor, who was fine.
Hauxhurst said friends in the area reported hearing three shots, and three bullets were found at the De Luz Apartments. The back of two lower level apartments were also hit. One bullet couldn’t penetrate the building and was found on the ground, and the other bullet was stuck in the building’s exterior wall.
Sgt. Patrick Yates of the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation said “at least six” shots were fired as a car in the area was hit with three bullets. Yates said the ammunition was nine millimeter bullets fired from a nine millimeter handgun and that the department is investigating the incident.
“We have some shell casings as well as some bullet fragments,” said Yates. “They’re in our crime lab right now and we’ll see if those lead to anything. We have no witnesses, no leads.”
Yates said the department doesn’t believe the bullets were intended for a specific person.
“We don’t think anybody was targeted,” said Yates. “We think it was just somebody being stupid. It was New Year’s Eve/early New Year’s Day and people firing guns, however stupid, is a common occurrence. But we’re going to use all of our investigative tools to try to come up with something, but right now, if we don’t get any DNA hits, then we’re not going to have anything.”
Although this is the first time Hauxhurst has heard of the complex getting damaged by gunfire, hearing gunshots is not unusual.
“Every Fourth of July and New Year’s, and sometimes on Cinco de Mayo, we hear the guns going off, and I’ve always wanted to do something, but I don’t know who’s doing it,” said Hauxhurst. “I can’t believe that people would do such a thing. They just don’t care, apparently, but it’s so scary. It’s like an invasion of your privacy, and your safety. You want to feel safe in your home, and now you can’t. It’s just not good.”
Hauxhurst wishes everyone would work together to get people to stop firing guns recklessly.
“If you hear your somebody – your neighbor – shooting a gun, say something to somebody,” said Hauxhurst. “Get them to stop.”
If anyone has information about this incident, contact the Fallbrook Sheriff’s substation at (760) 451-3100.