A Navy family living in a privatized housing neighborhood off base in Virginia Beach say they narrowly escaped injury when their house was struck by bullets in a drive-by shooting early Sunday morning.
Navy spouse Kristianne Parren said there were 17 bullet holes in their 8-month-old daughter’s bedroom, with some in the wall about a foot away from the crib where she lay sleeping. She said there were a total of 34 bullet holes in the house.
Navy officials in the region were informed about the incident Monday morning, including Naval Criminal Investigative Service, base security and local and regional leadership, said Beth Baker, spokeswoman for Navy Region Mid-Atlantic. She said officials learned about it through a tweet from Parren. Officials are working with the family and Lincoln Military Housing on the next steps, she said. The Navy is not investigating the incident, she said, because Virginia Beach police have jurisdiction over the area, which is in the civilian community.
Virginia Beach Police Department spokeswoman Linda Kuehn confirmed that the department had received a report that shots had been fired in the 5000 block of Gunter Street. There were no injuries reported, but damage to a residence and a vehicle.
Parren said she is stunned that it could happen in a military housing area.
“To me, housing is supposed to be one of the safer areas anywhere. To have our house and our safety and sanity violated like this is just one of the worst things ever,” said Parren, whose husband, Navy Mineman 3rd Class Nicholas Parren, is stationed at Norfolk Naval Base.
“I’m terrified to be in this house,” said Parren, who was at the house preparing to move out when interviewed July 6. Their privatized housing landlord, Lincoln Military Housing has agreed to allow the family to break their lease with no charge, she said. Because they are scheduled to make a permanent change of station move this fall, they will move in with her parents, who live in the area, rather than moving to another house for such a short time, she said.
Their home is located in the Sandpiper Crescent neighborhood in the civilian community in Virginia Beach, near the amphibious base at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Parren said police told her they believe a neighbor’s vehicle may have been the intended target, but that has not been confirmed by police. It’s also not known whether the neighbor is military.
Parren said officials from Lincoln Military Housing, and base security have come to talk to them.
The incident happened shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, Parren said. If things had happened just a little bit differently, she said, it could have ended tragically, based on where the family members were located, and the number of bullet holes.
The Parrens were in their bedroom making the bed when the shots rang out, she said. Her husband was near the window.
“He hit the floor as the shots started coming. I had no idea what was going on, and kind of jumped up onto the bed,” she said. “I look down and see my husband crawling under our bed to go the side I’m on. He looks at me with this look of pure panic on his face. I asked what happened, and he said, ‘call 911.’
After grabbing her phone and throwing it to him so he could make the call, she ran to her baby’s room.
“I went to grab my baby to make sure everything was okay, and she woke up giggling, with this giant smile. She had no idea what was going on,” Parren said. This was the baby’s first night sleeping in the crib in her room, as they had just moved the crib from the parents’ bedroom, Parren said.
She said her husband “was really lucky to be able to drop down so quickly…. The window sill stopped one bullet from hitting him in the abdomen area…..”
“I keep reliving the moment over and over,” said Parren. “My husband came here yesterday by himself, and said it doesn’t feel like his home,” she said. “He said it has a bad atmosphere to it now, and it feels like he has to look around every corner and check the door every few minutes to make sure there’s nothing in the house to hurt us.”