“It sounded like it was in my bedroom.” The gunshots that shocked a quiet North Salem community.
Like they do most nights, Rita Faulkner and her wife Joan went to bed early on Saturday. The Faulkners’ bedroom window, which faces the parking lot of the Bridleside apartment complex in North Salem, was cracked to let in the cool night air. At 2:56AM, the couple were jolted awake by the sound of gunshots.
“The shots were so loud that it sounded like it was in my bedroom,” Faulkner said. “My wife looked over at me and said, ‘what the hell was that?’”
“I thought of the worst,” Faulkner said. “It was just awful.”
Joan immediately cautioned Rita to stay away from the window. Rita rolled over to the other side of the bed while Joan peeked through a window in the couple’s second bedroom. Rita made her way to their deck and cracked the door to see what happened.
“I saw a car leaving the development, but it was already down the hill. All I could see from my deck was the brake lights and the car making a left-hand turn.” The Faulkners could not get back to sleep; they were too shaken.
By the time the sun rose early this morning, what had taken place overnight started to become clear. A white car, parked in a space just ten feet from the Faulkner’s bedroom, had been shot several times. Bullet holes were visible in the front windshield and along the driver’s side door. The car’s front tires were slashed, as was the tire of another white vehicle parked a few spaces away. Bullet casings were found near Joan’s car. “It was too close for comfort,” said Rita.
What took place in Bridleside, a community known for being family-friendly, has thoroughly rattled its residents. Bridleside is the kind of place where neighbors are on a first-name basis and families—in pre-covid times—would gather for Christmas parties or Easter egg hunts. On warm days, kids can be seen running throughout the complex. “It’s a very calm, welcoming, quiet area,” said Nicole Utschig, who lives there with her four-year-old son.
Utschig and her son moved to North Salem about eighteen months ago. She had grown up in White Plains and had never previously been to North Salem. She immediately fell for the town. “I felt like this is it; this is where I want to raise my son,” she said. Utschig loved the feeling that everything here is about families.
Around 10 a.m. Sunday, New York State troopers arrived to talk with residents about what they might have seen or heard. Around 10:30 a.m., a trooper knocked on Utschig’s door. She and her son had returned from a vacation to Florida yesterday afternoon and were settling back into home life. “[The trooper] didn’t tell me why or what happened or who had the gun. But part of me wants to believe it was a fluke thing.”
Utschig was alarmed by the news of the gunshots, and was especially alarmed that it had taken place in her neighborhood. “It makes you think twice about a security system. I was talking to my mother about adding a Ring doorbell,” she said, though she added that overall, she still feels safe where she lives. Faulkner, too, said she plans to add additional security to her apartment.
“You never expect the police to show up at your door,” Utschig said. “In this area it's not common, it's not what happens.”