Bullet flies through two homes

Calgary police say a man has been arrested after claiming he was cleaning his hunting rifle when it went off, sending a bullet flying through two neighbouring homes.

Calgary man claims to have been cleaning the gun when it discharged

Jason Kowalski and his wife Susan Smed inspect a bullet hole in their home. Their neighbour claims it accidentally came from his hunting rifle while he was cleaning it. (CBC)

Some people in the Calgary community of Cranston say they're thankful to be alive this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Local residents were terrified Sunday night after a gun went off in their neighbour’s home located on Cranberry Way, hitting the two houses beside it.

Calgary police Insp. Paul Stacey said the man claims he was cleaning his hunting rifle when the incident occurred.

Police have taken the man into custody.

Nobody was hurt, but Jason Kowalski said he and his wife and their 14-year-old daughter were standing where the bullet passed through his home just 20 minutes earlier.

The family had just come home from Thanksgiving dinner and were spread out in the house.

Kowalski said at roughly 10:30 p.m. he heard a violent snap. He went downstairs to ask his daughter what was going and said "her eyeballs were like saucers."

"It’s like a big firework went off in our house," said Kowalski. "My two dogs hit the floor. They knew something was up."

A stray bullet ripped through the home of a Cranston family who had just returned from Thanksgiving dinner. ((CBC))

Upon further investigation the family found debris on the main level, and saw the bullet hole in their picture frame which exited the opposite side of the house as it travelled onto their neighbour’s home.

The family called police and were told to wait in the basement until they arrived.

"I just sent an email out to some of my friends to say how grateful I am this Thanksgiving for us being alive and safe and OK," said Kowalski’s wife Susan Smed.

"But definitely shaken up and hoping that something is going to happen with this neighbour so he doesn't have the opportunity to have a firearm that's loaded in his home again."

A hunter himself, Kowalski doesn’t buy his neighbour’s gun-cleaning story.

"Some people shouldn’t own guns period," he said.

"Police didn’t know for sure what had happened, but, if he said he was cleaning it, having a bullet in the chamber is just not right.

"You have to be using your head. Firearms are a serious thing and that’s why there are laws about owning them and that has to be followed."

Insp. Stacey said with so many people in both homes the potential for someone getting hurt was quite high.

"It’s unbelievably concerning," he said.

"You have to remember this bullet went through two homes, so it had some velocity attached to it. Had they been struck by this bullet we would talking about something totally different right now."

Stacey said this type of situation has happened in the past, but often hunters are fairly prudent when it comes to handling their weapons.

"You shouldn’t have it loaded in your home," he said.

Stacey said police only have the man’s story to go on, which they feel is plausible, and there was no evidence of a fight or intentionally firing the gun.

"It was clearly a foolish thing to do," said Stacey.

Two people had been arrested in the incident, one — a friend of the man cleaning his gun — was let go when it was determined he had nothing to do with it.

Other firearms were found in the man’s home and he is facing several firearms-related charges.

"Clearly he was shocked as anybody that this had happened," he said. "He’s probably pretty thankful he didn’t hit anyone."