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Reports of roadside shooter untrue

It may be a sign of difficult times.

A crush of calls to 911 and the Fluvanna County Sheriff’s office convinced officials Tuesday to issue a statement regarding rumors that someone was shooting at vehicles in the county near Troy. They were untrue.

After looking into the reports, deputies said they do not believe any shots were fired and no one, they said, was taking pot shots at cars.

“There are rumors and social media post about an active shooting situation on James Madison Highway (Route 15) or Richmond Road (Route 250) in the Troy area,” officials said in a statement on social media and to news agencies in the region. “These reports are false.”

Officials said a driver was on the road when the driver’s side window of the car shattered. The driver, deputies said, believed the window had been shot.

“Deputies checked the area and found no evidence of a shooting. Deputies will continue to patrol the area, but there is no active threat at this time,” officials said.

Sheriff’s officials said recent shootings at a Texas elementary school and a Buffalo, New York supermarket may have made some residents jittery.

"We had one caller wanting to know why we weren’t doing anything about it. It also tied up our phone lines and dispatchers for several minutes once it hit critical mass," said Major David Wells, of the sheriff’s department. "It caused several people to panic needlessly."

Wells said social media posts from unofficial sources should not be considered factual.

"It was amazing how it built momentum," he said. "The actual incident, the broken window, that started this, was a few hours before our phones went crazy."

Wells said the department will communicate with the public if there ever is a ‘critical incident’ like a roadside shooter.

"We would send something out ASAP," he said. "We do have an alert system people can sign up for."

According to online sources, car windows may sudden shatter in heat or cold if they were damaged at some point, such as being chipped by stones or other debris. The amount of time can affect even minor damage, and the window shattering can take months or even years.

“We urge people to uses caution when sharing information on social media,” officials wrote. “Spreading misinformation causes panic.”


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