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Expectant Mom Recovering From Stray Hunting Bullet

ByABC News via logo
December 8, 2004, 9:15 AM

Dec. 8, 2004 — -- Loved ones of a pregnant woman injured in a shooting, apparently by a hunter's stray bullet, believe she is lucky to be alive, but they want new hunting regulations that will give greater protection to suburban homes and businesses.

Casey Burns, 18, remains hospitalized as she recovers from a gunshot wound to the head. She was shot while sitting in her car outside her North Whitehall Township, Pa., home on Nov. 30. Burns, who is seven months pregnant, was preparing to follow her fiancé to his mother's house at the time.

"When I looked through and saw the hole in the window, I opened the door and saw her bleeding," Robbie Katner, Burns' fiancé, told ABC News' "Good Morning America." "I took off my sweater and put it on her head to try and stop it [the bleeding] until the ambulance and everybody got there."

According to the International Hunter Education Association, hunters accidentally shoot more than 1,000 people in the United States and Canada every year. Authorities in Pennsylvania worry that more bystanders will be injured by hunters' stray bullets as more homes are built near wooded areas where hunting is common.

"We have had several incidents of people reporting that their houses have gotten struck by stray bullets," said Sgt. Andre Stevens of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Pennsylvania game laws require hunters to remain 150 yards away from occupied homes and businesses when they use firearms. However, Burns' relatives say lawmakers should consider requiring greater distances because bullets can travel farther than 150 yards.

"They [authorities] are telling us that it [the bullet that wounded Burns] came from the orchard nearby and these guns are actually capable of going anywhere from 800 yards to 1,000 yards," Allie Dickinson, Burns' mother, said on "Good Morning America." "To me, that seems like a common-sense thing, that if a gun [gunshot] can travel a mile, then you need at least a mile safety distance between the hunter and a person that's just an innocent bystander like my daughter."