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Shots fired as kids play near chickens

August 9, 2012 2:41:38 PM PDT
A dispute between neighbors turned anything but neighborly.

It started with some kids playing with chalk, close to where their neighbor keeps her chickens.

It ended with shots fired in the kids' direction and the neighbor with the chicks under arrest.

"How do we wait next to someone who is a ticking time bomb," said Sharon Ranieri, a Staten Island resident.

Sharon Ranieri is locked in a bitter battle, involving bullets, chalk and chickens, she says, with Elizabeth Gelman.

"I never thought in my life there would be a gun, anything, you fight with people, I keep trying to tell them, this is getting bad and no one is listening," Sharon Ranieri said.

The women live next door to each other and have been bickering for years, but things really boiled over on Sunday.

It all centered around the dozen or so chickens and roosters that live in Elizabeth's backyard.

Sharon's 11-year-old daughter, Alexis, was outside with a friend, and the animals were also outside.

"There was chalk next to us, we were playing with it, a piece got in her yard and I threw a piece and she did the same," said Alexis Ranieri, Sharon's daughter.

Sharon says Elizabeth then brought all the chickens inside and then Monday evening, a potentially deadly situation unfolded as Sharon sat outside on her deck with Alexis.

"We just heard the loudest noise you'll ever hear, a shot, my daughter screamed, 'My arm!', " Sharon Ranieri said.

Bullets were flying.

"I started crying and ran in the house," Alexis Ranieri said.

Sharon says the bullets were coming from Elizabeth's basement windows, hitting porches and even another person's house, some 50 feet away.

"It looked like the tip of a BBQ lighter, it was black and a fireball," Sharon Ranieri said.

Police did find a 38 caliber revolver and 42 bullets inside a safe in Elizabeth's home.

The 49-year-old was charged with illegal possession of a firearm, was released on her own recognizance and is home.

There are security cameras in every window, so she was probably watching Eyewitness News as we tried to get her side of the story.

"Psychologically, I don't know how it's going to effect the kids, one minute they're fine, one minute crying," Sharon Ranieri said.

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