Police: Gun owner who fired shots near Stoneham schools facing criminal charges

STONEHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - A Malden gun owner whose attempt at target practice triggered two Stoneham schools to issue shelter-in-place orders Wednesday is now facing criminal charges, police said.

State and local police responding to a report of a gunshot fired in the area of Karen Drive ordered a shelter in place at Stoneham High School and Colonial Park School, according to Stoneham Police Chief James McIntyre.

As officers arrived in the area, police say they encountered several people in the yard of 4 Karen Drive who provided conflicting stories as to what they were doing and denied shooting any firearms.

But after finding multiple freshly spent shell casings the back yard, a 52-year-old Malden man, whose name has not been released, was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, improper storage of a firearm, violation of a town bylaw relating to the discharge of a firearm, disorderly conduct,  and disturbing the peace.

The suspect had a valid license to carry firearms, but it is illegal to discharge a firearm near a dwelling.

“The individual involved in this incident clearly exercised poor judgement in unlawfully discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood, in close proximity to multiple schools and homes,” McIntyre said in a statement. “We are thankful that neighborhood residents and nearby school personnel reacted as quickly as they did to alert us to a potentially dangerous situation. I would like to thank our law enforcement partners – the Massachusetts State Police, Melrose Police and Woburn Police Departments for their assistance in bringing this incident to a successful resolution.”

(Copyright (c) 2018 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)