Residents on Valley Drive say they're living in fear of getting shot

Residents concerned about proposal to approve hunting in area

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Residents in one part of Dona Ana County say they're living in fear of getting shot. It's because of people hunting along the nearby Rio Grande.

Residents are afraid it's going to get worse.

A federal agency is proposing making hunting legal in that area.

"It's scary to think if we're out early in the morning or late at night that we're going to be dodging gunfire," said Melinda Lujan-Severns.

Surrounded by mountains and pecan orchards, Lujan-Severns said she loves her home of eight years. Incidents in the last year and a half have made her question her family's safety.

"The bullet which I have in my hand came in through this way and then it ricocheted and it came through our garage door," Lujan-Severns told ABC-7.

That wasn't the only bullet to hit her house.

"You can see from here where one of the bullets ricocheted off of this wall," Lujan-Severns said.

Despite that, the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) is looking at making hunting in the area legal.

"We were approached by interest groups in southern New Mexico who are interested," said Salley Spener, a spokeswoman for the IBWC.

The proposal would allow hunting along the banks of the Rio Grande from Shalem Colony Trail to the Leasburg Dam State Park.

State law prohibits shooting within 150 yards of inhabited buildings, but residents don't think that will stop hunters.

"It's not a matter of if anymore. It's going to happen. One of these days one of us is going to get shot," said Linda Duval, another resident in the area.

"We want to reassure people this isn't just open season, if you will, for use of firearms along the Rio Grande," Spener said.

Residents still imagine the worst.

"There's going to be even more gunfire, more shots, more target shooting," Lujan-Severns said.

The IBWC is taking public comment on the proposal until Aug. 23. You can mail comments to Elizabeth Verdecchia, Natural Resources Specialist USIBWC at 4171 N. Mesa, C-100 El Paso, TX 79902 or e-mail comments to

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