Discovering bullets and fearing injuries: Neighbors blame ‘tactical training’ in Wilson Co. community
The owner of the company blamed by neighbors for gunshots is at the center of the WSMV4 “Thin Blurred Line” investigation.
MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. (WSMV) - It’s a family affair that Andy Noe never anticipated when he and his extended family settled in rural Wilson County.
First, he found two bullets off his driveway, after hearing them fly through his property.
“I could hear bullets going through the branches, and then I heard one whiz by me,” Noe said.
Then, Noe’s brother-in-law Frank, who lives nearby, found one near his home.
“It’s kind of like being in a war zone,” he said.
Noe’s other brother-in-law, Dallas Farmer, was so rattled by bullets he heard flying by and the sound of gunfire that he started recording it on his iPhone.
“You’re scared to have you and your wife out on the deck. You don’t know the way the next round is going,” Farmer said.
The families in Wilson County are used to the sounds of shooting from hunting, but they say the constant rounds of gunfire coming from the adjoining property are shattering the peace of their community.
Surrounding neighbors are so concerned that two petitions have circulated with nearly 300 signatures, asking for the shooting to stop. “It’s a danger. It’s totally dangerous for everybody,” Farmer said.
WSMV4 drone footage of the adjacent property shows part of the land has been cleared, and from a closer look on the ground, you can see large targets set up in front of a berm.
After hearing repeated gunshots and finding the bullets, residents called the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, and incident reports show deputies arrived to find the shooting as done in a safe manner.
Still frustrated, some residents decided they would record what they were seeing: a tactical training operation.
“They’re all dressed up in their bulletproof vests. Some of them saying police,” Noe said. “Running scenarios, taking off from one spot, running around vehicles, shooting at targets, running around different obstacles.”
Video provided to WSMV4 Investigates shows several people standing around cars before the targets, and someone yells, “Go, go, go!”
A man in what looks like a bulletproof vest then runs, moving around the cars and then opens fire on the target.
Photographs show among the cars parked there is a truck labeled, “Solaren,” a security company operated by Jack Byrd, who also owns the property.
“I think he’s turned it into his own personal training ground,” Noe said.
Byrd’s company is at the center of an ongoing WSMV4 “Thin Blurred Line” investigation that showed how current or former employees wore identification as police but aren’t certified law enforcement.
A signed affidavit from Byrd, sent to Wilson County’s codes and zoning division, states that at no time has the property ever hosted a sanctioned training event.
Byrd denied our request for an interview, but his attorney issued this statement to WSMV4 Investigates: “Our land use is legal, safe, and protected. We will fervently defend any attempts to interfere or infringe upon our rights of use.”
Upon seeing pictures sent from residents, Wilson County issued Byrd violation orders.
“You need to stop running a business if that’s what you’re doing,” said Tom Brashear, Director of Development Services for Wilson County.
In the affidavit, Byrd responded by stating that the property has also never been used for commercial events or hosted anything that was unsafe, reckless or dangerous.
Neighbors wonder, then, how it is they’ve found bullets near their homes.
“Worry about the family, my elderly mother lives rights by the property, we’re afraid for her to be anywhere near the windows,” Noe said.
In the affidavit, Byrd suggests that a community meeting should be held to discuss the community’s concerns.
WSMV4 Investigates will be monitoring to see if the county takes any further action.
If you have something you’d like WSMV4 investigates to know, contact us here: https://www.wsmv.com/news/investigate/.
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