Christchurch father pleads for extra caution after stray bullet narrowly misses kids

A Christchurch father is pleading for local shooters to be careful after his daughter was almost hit by a stray bullet - twice.

Three weeks ago Hugh Sintes' 13-year-old daughter Callia was playing with her little sister in the long grass of their Rangiora lifestyle block.

"We were hiding from our dog when I saw this black blur that went above my head," she told Newshub.

"I said 'Did you see that?' and my sister said 'Yeah what was it?' and I didn't know. I was freaked out so we got up and ran back inside."

When she told her dad about the "black blur", he suspected his daughters had come perilously close to a stray bullet.

"Bumblebees don't fly that fast," he told Newshub.

It wouldn't be Callia's last close encounter with a bullet.

On Saturday evening at about 10:15pm, Mr Sintes was driving in the direction of the Northern Motorway to pick up his son. Callia and her friend were in the back seat.

"A loud thing went into the car next to my friend," Callia told Newshub. "We both freaked out."

Mr Sintes said he was alarmed by the "sharp loud bang" but was driving at 100km/h and didn't have an opportunity to stop immediately. After several minutes he was able to pull over and inspect the damage, and what he saw made his blood run cold.

"There was a perfect circle dent in the car, like it had been hit at a right angle. There was no other traffic on the road. What else could it be?"

Hugh Sintes believes a stray bullet left a circular dent in his car.
Hugh Sintes believes a stray bullet left a circular dent in his car. Photo credit: Hugh Sintes

His theory is that a bullet was shot from a .22 rifle about a kilometre from the road, the flat Canterbury plains meaning it could travel a fair distance.

"Any closer and a bullet would have punctured the car, but it made a really good dent."

Callia's two narrow escapes have driven home the importance of gun safety for Mr Sintes, who is a shooter himself.

"That's two incidents for our family in one month. How many other bullets are flying around out there?"

He says there are a lot of wild rabbits and hares in his neighbourhood, attracting trigger-happy amateur hunters eager for target practice.

A year ago "some clown" shot at a hare outside his property, narrowly missing his children's bedroom window.

"I wrote quite an aggressive post on Neighbourly about it at the time," he says.

"They shouldn't be shooting near a lifestyle block. Serious hunters would know better - these guys are probably in their late teens and early 20s and just aren't thinking about if there are people around."

Hugh Sintes and his daughter Callia next to their freshly dented car.
Hugh Sintes and his daughter Callia next to their freshly dented car. Photo credit: Hugh Sintes

Mr Sintes wants to highlight the importance of being aware of your surroundings, and keeping in mind that if you miss your target the bullet still has to go somewhere.

"When you live in the country you brush it off," he says.

"We all do silly things sometimes but people need to be a bit more careful."

NZ Police has been approached for comment on reports of stray bullets in the North Canterbury region.


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