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Historian: Cross-Border Bullets Have Hit El Paso before

The shots that hit El Paso City Hall on Tuesday raise an important question: Just how far can rounds fired in Mexico travel into the United States?

Harold Shirley, a longtime gun salesman at Sun City Guns in far East El Paso, said a round from an AK-47 can travel 3,000 yards, or 30 football fields.

That’s more than a mile and a half. But for that scenario to play out, Shirley said, the shooter would have to have the gun at a 45-degree angle.

“A bullet travels in a parabola — not a straight line: an arc,” Shirley said. He said the shooter could have fired 30 rounds in three seconds. Bullets from Juarez landed in El Paso during the Mexican Revolution in 1911.

El Paso and Juarez historian Fred Morales took KVIA on a walking tour of sites where bullets landed on just one day in May of 1911 — during the Battle of Juarez. He said bullets hit the old Laundry Building, which is still standing at 901 Santa Fe Street.

He said bullets also hit the old rail depot on Santa Fe Street, which has been replaced by another building And in front of a parking lot across the street from the rail depot on Santa Fe Street, Morales said a man was killed by a stray bullet outside his home while reading a newspaper. Morales said another man was struck by a stray bullet from Juarez while sitting in San Jacinto Plaza, although he survived the wound.

The rounds that hit City Hall Tuesday didn’t surprise Morales. “History has a tendency to repeat itself, especially along the El Paso-Juarez border,” Morales said. “It doesn’t surprise me that a bullet came over the border and hit a structure in El Paso. That could be seen again in the upcoming years.”

Morales will discuss the topic on his radio show on 1150 AM on Saturday at 11 a.m.

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