More than a thousand acres of public land frequented by target shooters was closed off Tuesday by the Bureau of Land Management.
“We thought this would be a good time for us to pause to take a look at what we have out there to see if we want to manage things a little differently,” said Leon Thomas, Phoenix District Manager for the BLM.
Last month, 24-year-old Kami Gilstrap was hit and killed by a stray bullet in the area, near Miller Road and Tonopah-Salome Highway. Thomas said the agency closed the area to repair damaged communications equipment and evaluate how safety rules are conveyed and enforced.
“When it comes to target shooting, education is the key,” he told ABC15. “We want to make sure that if you pack it in, you pack it out. That you’re using the proper backdrop. That you’re not shooting over roads and trails.”
Thomas said BLM rangers had already stepped up patrols in the area prior to the closure. He said there is no clear timeline as to when the area will reopen.
Buckeye police said Tuesday they are still investigating Gilstrap’s death. Detective Tamela Skaggs said the bullet involved was sent to the Department of Public Safety lab and they are waiting on results. No arrests have been made.