Cranberry police have filed charges against several people for shooting off guns during a New Year’s Eve party in the Fernway neighborhood and striking at least two homes with bullets.
Christopher Nemit, 29, of Pittsburgh, Rachel Sherd, 28, of Cranberry, and Lucinda Jones, 34, of Finleyville all are charged with discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief, permitted use of firearms and disorderly conduct. Nemit also is charged with criminal conspiracy in the incident.
According to the criminal complaint, Nemit and Jones were at Sherd’s home on Robinhood Drive for a party Dec. 31. Nemit brought at Mossberg 12-gauge pump action shotgun and a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol with him to the celebration, police said.
At midnight, several people, including Jones and Sherd, headed to the backyard of the home to fire off rounds from both guns to celebrate the New Year. Nemit assisted the women in firing the weapons, the complaint said.
Two bullets of the bullets discharged from the weapons went through Jonell Hart’s home on Sherwood Drive and another two rounds struck Renee Piroth’s home on Lincolnshire Drive. No one inside the homes were injured.
Hart, whose home sits in front of the Robinhood Drive house where the party was taking place, told Cranberry Patch one of the bullets came through the fence of his backyard, entered a wall in his home and went through head rest of his favorite chair before exiting out the front door.
A .40 caliber slug came down vertically through the roof and ceiling and dropped between his feet, Hart said.
Police noted in the criminal complaint that the slug from the 12-gauge entered the rear of Hart’s house at about four feet from the ground, indicating it was fired off from directly behind the home on a straight line.
In Piroth’s case, she said she and her husband had just gotten into bed when she heard a loud boom.
“We went out and checked and there was nothing, so we went back to bed,” she told Patch just after the incident.
Moments later, the couple heard another loud boom—this one much closer. Piroth said a bullet slammed into the bedroom window near where her husband had been standing only moments earlier.
“It was the most horrible experience,” she said. “There was glass everywhere.”
The sound she heard earlier turned out to be a bullet from the 12-gage shotgun striking the home’s living room window, the complaint said. The bullet, which sprayed glass on the floor and the family’s Christmas tree, was found on the windowsill, Piroth said.
Piroth, who said she has suffered from anxiety since that night, said she is pleased charges have been filed in the incident. She added she is planning to meet with a lawyer and may considering filing a civil lawsuit against the three people involved in the shooting.
"They've got to realize this was a close encounter for everyone that night and they have to pay for this," she said. "It's not a joke."
Nemit, Herd and Jones were arraigned Jan. 24 before District Judge David Kovach in Cranberry. The three are scheduled for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. March 8 before Kovach.
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