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Authorities cracking down on desert shootings near Estrella riverbed

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Posted at 5:49 PM, Mar 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 00:19:21-04

GOODYEAR, AZ — Authorities are cracking down on illegal shootings near the riverbed of Estrella Mountain Regional Park.

"It feels like I'm in Beirut with the troops; the gunfire is unbelievable," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Video from social media shows trains of ATVs, off-road vehicles and a hail of gunfire just a mile from the man's home.

"Neighbors have talked about rounds passing them, not a good thing. It's a safety issue," the man said of the constant gunfire.

While the entire riverbed is covered in bullet-riddled 'No Trespassing' signs, it doesn't seem to stop anyone.

He said the parties and shootings can last all night.

"I think they're shooting anything from small weapons to large-caliber rifles, and I do believe automatic weapons," he says.

Law enforcement says jurisdictional issues have complicated putting a stop to the illegal gunfire.

But on March 3, The Bureau of Land Management, Goodyear and Avondale police, along with Lake Patrol resources, launched a sting operation that netted 17 criminal violations and nine civil citations.

The sheriff's office says they are in the process of putting up additional signage in hopes of making a more permanent impact.

"We've had enough, we've been talking about it for months, this is since October. Somebody needs to step up," said the resident.