Update: Reckless target shooter arrested after shots-fired scare at Hill Cumorah complex, police say

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies respond to a shots fired call outside the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center in Palmyra, New York Monday, June 8, 2022. Photo courtesy: Heather Schwartz/East Idaho News

PALMYRA, New York, June 9, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A 23-year-old man has been arrested after more than 22 shots were fired near the Hill Cumorah complex in New York state prompting a massive police response.

Michael R. Bushart, 23, of Fairport, New York, was charged with reckless endangerment, a first-degree felony, a statement from New York State Police says.

“The investigation revealed Bushart was target shooting from farmland west of Hill Cumorah,” says the statement, issued Thursday.

“A search warrant was executed in Fairport and a number of long guns were seized. Bushart was arraigned this morning and released after being placed on pretrial supervision.”

Incident response

New York State troopers were dispatched to the Hill Cumorah complex at 5:45 p.m. EDT, “after an apartment window was struck by a bullet,” the police statement says.

“Responding Troopers and Ontario County Sheriff Deputies reported additional shots fired after they arrived on scene. Visitors and residents at Hill Cumorah were sheltered in place until the State Police, Ontario County and Wayne County SWAT teams evacuated them to another location.

No injuries were reported.

Witnesses from Idaho Falls

An Idaho Falls family and dozens of others visiting the center were evacuated from the Sacred Grove and nearby buildings after the shooting broke out, says a report from East Idaho News.

Heather Schwartz was with her husband and son at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historical site around 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time when a missionary couple approached them and said they needed to leave immediately.

“Over 100 kids were in the grove on a bus church site tour. The adults kicked it in gear, and got most of those kids out in record time,” Schwartz told EastIdahoNews.com.

The area, which includes the Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah, attracts believers from around the world.

The area, which includes the Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah, attracts believers from around the world. The site is the location where LDS faithful believe a teenage Joseph Smith, church founder, in 1829 encountered angels who directed him to the Golden Plates, which he said revealed the text to the faith’s guiding “Book of Mormon.”

Schwartz said Wednesday night there was a massive police response at the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center nearby, and missionaries were working to evacuate the Palmyra Latter-day Saint Temple.

A substantial force of law enforcement agencies responded to assist, including; State Police, NYSP Aviation, Ontario County Sheriff, Wayne County Sheriff, Department of Environmental Conservation Police, FBI and ATF.

Image: Google Maps

New York State Police statement

Read the full statement issued Thursday by the New York State Police below:

On June 8, 2022, at approximately 5:45 p.m., State Troopers were dispatched to the Hill Cumorah complex, on State Route 21, in the town of Manchester, after an apartment window was struck by a bullet. Responding Troopers and Ontario County Sheriff Deputies reported additional shots fired after they arrived on scene. 

Visitors and residents at Hill Cumorah were sheltered in place until the State Police, Ontario County and Wayne County SWAT teams evacuated them to another location.

An extensive criminal investigation was conducted, leading to the arrest of 23 year-old MICHAEL R. BUSHART, of Fairport NY, for Reckless Endangerment 1st degree (D felony). The investigation revealed BUSHART was target shooting from farmland west of Hill Cumorah. A search warrant was executed in Fairport and a number of long guns were seized.

BUSHART was arraigned this morning and released after being placed on pretrial supervision.  

A substantial force of law enforcement agencies responded to assist, including; State Police, NYSP Aviation, Ontario County Sheriff, Wayne County Sheriff, Department of Environmental Conservation Police, FBI and ATF. 

The investigation is ongoing.

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