The first shooting happened less than a month after a military family moved in to their rented southeast Killeen home. Since the first time someone fired shots at their home on Vail Drive in March, the Schuknecht family has been terrified by two more incidents of drive-by shootings, including one on Saturday.
“After this last one, we went to a hotel for the night,” said Becki Schuknecht. “They had an indoor pool so the kids could have some fun without worrying about anything.” Two of the three incidents left at least one bullet hole in her children’s rooms.
After the first two incidents Schuknecht was able to shield the knowledge from her two youngest children. “By the third time, they all knew, which was stressful.”
The children sleep in their parent’s bedroom now. “They won’t go into their bedrooms or bathrooms because of the bullet in the wall. They’re terrified,” Schuknecht said.
The family did not recognize the sound of gunfire during the first shooting on March 22. “We were all in the living room and we heard a ruckus, like something falling off the wall,” Schuknecht said. She checked on her younger kids and discovered a bullet hole through the window, one of at least 6 that someone had fired at the house, based on the number of casings recovered by police investigators that night.
“We thought, well, this is crazy, especially when neighbors say what a quiet neighborhood this is and how nothing obnoxious ever happens,” she said.
The second incident on April 13 left bullet holes in the garage door. “We called police and made another report and they think it’s linked to the first case but no casings were found that time, possibly because of the hail storm.”
The family never expected to be victims again the very next night, last Saturday.
“We were pretty petrified,” she said. “We were getting everyone ready for bed and heard a distinctive ‘pop, pop, pop,’ five or six times.” The family hunkered in the living room before the mother sent her children to hide in the bathroom.
“Bullets went through several rooms and doors, so we got lucky, I guess,” Schuknecht said. “It’s been difficult for me and my husband worrying about our kids and making them feel safe.”
She said each time Killeen Police Department officers arrived quickly, and after the Saturday incident five or six vehicles showed up, some with detectives, who asked questions about the previous tenants.
The Killeen Police Department spokeswoman on Tuesday said the department cannot release details about the investigation.
“It is actively being investigated and steps are being taken to identify the suspects in this case,” said Ofelia Miramontez, Killeen Police Department spokeswoman. “We do believe however, due to the short amount of time the current residents have lived in that residence, that they are not the intended target of the attacks.”
“It’s getting expensive to fix everything,” she said. “The first window cost $250 to fix, and now we’re looking at fixing bullet holes in the garage door, another window and doors.”
Neighbors also reported gunshots on April 13, and one neighbor has a surveillance video in which shots can be heard and a car driving by shortly afterward, Schuknecht said.
“Killeen is being reported as a best city to live in, crime is going down and I am seeing changes, but I know detectives are busy,” she said. She is hoping detectives will be able to match the bullet casings found after the first incident to find the perpetrators.
The family is researching their options, including security systems with cameras or moving out of the house altogether.
Miramontez reminded anyone with information pertaining to these incidents are asked to contact the Killeen Police Department at 254-501-8830 or the Bell County Crime Stoppers at 254-526-8477.