Early Wednesday evening state police arrived at the Hill Cumorah Visitor’s Center, nestled outside Palmyra, New York, to respond to reports of gunshots. Latter-day Saints around the world know the historic site as the place Joseph Smith received the gold plates and visitations by the Angel Moroni.
Later that night, Church spokesman Eric Hawkins released the following statement:
This afternoon, several shots were fired at or near the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Palmyra, New York. Gratefully, no injuries have been reported. At this hour, there is little information available. Inquiries about details should be directed to local law enforcement.
Early reports stated at least one bullet struck the building, which was full of visitors at the time. Later reports now say it was an apartment window near the historic site that was hit. The area was immediately shut down and no injuries were reported. Those at the Hill Cumorah sheltered in place while troopers swarmed the area. After investigations, police now say 23-year-old Michael Bushart was firing a gun recreationally and did not intend to hit the building or cause harm. He was target shooting on farmland west of the site and shot approximately 22 rounds. Bushart is in custody and charged with first-degree reckless endangerment.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.