Kristianne Parren was tired and ready for bed early Sunday when an explosion-like sound erupted in her Virginia Beach home.
It was shortly after 1 a.m. in the Sandpiper Crescent Lincoln Military Housing complex off Shore Drive, and she and her husband had just finished moving a television into their master bedroom, she told The Virginian-Pilot Monday. Her husband, Nicholas, was putting away his handgun as he does every night when the shooting started.
“I thought he had dropped his firearm and it exploded or something,” said Parren, 22. “As soon as he put it away gunshots started going off throughout the house.”
Bullets sprayed through the front of the home, reaching several rooms including the living room, master bedroom and the bedroom where the Parrens’ 8-month-old daughter, Mabel, lay asleep in her crib.
Parren said she was caught in “absolute terror.”
“It was honestly the most terrifying thing I’ve ever been through and probably will ever go through. A half hour before I’d been feeding my daughter.”
She ran and grabbed her daughter and her phone in another room to call 911. A cellphone video Parren took the next day shows at least 10 bullet holes, marked with evidence letters by police, in Mabel’s room. The closest was about a foot away from the crib.
Other holes mark walls in adjoining rooms.
No one was injured, Parren said. She said Virginia Beach police told her that the intended target had been a neighbor’s car.
One officer told her “he hadn’t seen a drive-by shooting like this before,” according to Parren.
“It wasn’t a handgun. It was a rifle, and a pretty decently high-powered one,” she said.
Linda Kuehn, spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach Police Department, confirmed officers got a call for service in the 5000 block of Gunter Street at 1:08 a.m. but did not immediately have more information.
Parren said she and her husband, who’s a sailor based at Naval Station Norfolk, have until September on their lease with Lincoln, but that they cannot live at the complex anymore.
“There’s bullet holes next to a baby’s crib. Our family is going through a traumatic experience,” she said. “This shouldn’t have happened in military housing.”
She added that the shooting is a final straw on top of multiple service requests over the past several years going unaddressed, regarding wasps and a creature living in the roof.
Brooke Scarbrough, a Lincoln Military Housing spokeswoman, said the residents notified the complex of the shooting Monday morning and while police are leading the investigation, “we are working diligently with them alongside our Navy Partner to ensure the impacted families are taken care of and supported.”
She said the complex has immediately increased its courtesy patrols and will work with Navy Fleet and Family services to make resources available for the community.
“Our thoughts are with the families who experienced this shocking event.”
Scarbrough did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Parren’s wider complaints.
Parren said the family is now living with her mother in Chesapeake. They were previously scheduled to leave the area via the Navy this fall.
She said she’s just grateful Mabel is OK.
“I was in the midst of a full blown panic attack, and she was just sitting there giggling.”
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