Neighbors Concerned about Safety Near Van Buren Gun Range

Residents in a Crawford County community said they are scared for their lives because they are in direct fire of a local gun range.

Brenda Yeakley lives near THOR Global Defense in Van Buren.

“It`s just real stressful to not know if you are going to be shot and killed,” said Yeakley.

Yeakley said her niece was recently struck by a bullet fired from the range.

“She was asleep in the evening, the bullet went through the wall into the bed, and hit her in the leg,” said Yeakley

Justin Guenther director of operations at THOR issued 5NEWS this statement:

“We here at THOR Global Defense pride ourselves on providing a safe and secure place for military, police, individuals, and families an area and place to shoot. We go above and beyond to provide the community and surrounding area a very safe, contained range. We believe that all individuals should have a safe place to learn with our concealment classes and various other classes that allow every person to express their second amendment right. We are open 7 days a week 8am – 5pm to provide answers to any questions and invite everyone to take a tour of our state of the art ranges and facilities.”

Yeakley said she and her community are ready to voice their problem at the next Crawford County quorum meeting.

65 comments

  • d. vin

    Funny, when she was going around trying to get people to sign the petition, she never mentioned her niece getting shot. She also had pictures of where they supposedly shot her house and her brother’s house, but still never mentioned her niece. Also, did her niece go to bed early that night seeing as they close at 5?

  • Nick Miller

    been to that place a few times before and this story doesnt add up. sounds like someone’s trying to make a quick buck

  • Ken

    I’ve been to their facilities, and lived next to Thor. It is located in a populated area with homes in the same direction of both their ranges. I’ve never seen a range safety at all. They have no flag to indicate the range is hot. There have been several vehicles, and homes near their range struck by stray rounds. I spent two years in Iraq doing EOD security. I’ve have been at family members homes, and heard the stray rounds buzzing through the air over head. And believe me I know what rounds flying over me sound like. It’s the most unsafe range I’ve ever been to. Also its location is the most responsible I’ve ever seen.

    • Brian L

      I’m glad you feel they are extremely responsible. I think so too.

      If you’re going to express your opinion publicly, good grammar is important.

      • Black Bellamy

        You did understand what he was trying to say though, right? So complaining about his grammar/spelling is just being holier than thou in a very passive aggressive way.

      • Tim

        Well Ken, since you were involved in the military than surely you understand that if all these so called “unsafe” practices were happening, then they would shut it down! There is no way that local,state,and federal government would allow a gun range to operate unsafely in any populated area. After all I live close to Fort Chaffee, don’t think complaining or fabricating stories would do me any good. And please learn how to write your opinions. You criticized and complimented them at the same time, while your overall tone was negative.

      • Brian L

        Actually “Black Bellamy” I am not sure if I understand what Ken is attempting to say. That’s why good grammar is important. I’m amazed at the level of literacy every time I look at the posts here.

    • Cole Douglas

      not going to argue the safty on the range but about the spot where it is way out on westville. there are very few houses around that could make complaints. how far out would a gun range have to get outside of the city limmets to be considered far enough?

  • Power

    I have been a member at Thor for many years. They do have a RO on duty at all times. I dont believe this story, or the comment from “ken”.
    I think this is a case where someone is trying to milk Thor for money

    • Carla Wells

      I can only tell you of my first experience at Thor.
      There was NO Range Safety Officer there and I walked up to
      The line and asked what the proper etiquette was.
      Some one responded ‘When everyone gets done shooting, raise your and to let them know you want to place a target’

      So I did… And a few of the shooters and my self went down range and fixed our targets…. Then I hear gunfire! Some joker on the end (within 20 ft of me) didn’t notice 4 people down range…

      As a Conceal Carry Instructor, that was enough for me not to
      Recommend my students to Thor… Even if it WAS a Sunday.
      If you expect people to be out at your range with different levels of experience, show up to keep things safe!!!

  • Jim

    Seriously? “stray rounds buzzing through the air over head”. I dont think so. If that were true, someone would have documented it with video / audio by now. I shoot out there on a regular basis, and can tell you safety is their number one priority.

    • JD

      I don’t believe this woman’s story either, but how are you going to get video or audio of stray bullets?

  • Kate

    As a repeat customer of Thor I would like to say that besides providing great quality products, I have always been impressed with measures this company takes in providing safety education as well as operational education of the products they sell. Their staff is very knowledgable, and encourages their clients to take full advantage of the training and facilities that they provide. Please do not let the accusations of one person tarnish the outstanding reputation of this company. Gun safety, and education are a number one priority for them.

  • CJ

    I find the charges against Thor extremely questionable. Matter of fact, I believe the charges to be false. Thor is a safe and secure shooting range and an R.O. is always there – at least one.
    The noise from the range may irritate some people but we all have to deal with things we find unpleasant at times. I know how loud airplanes/jets/helicopters really bother me but they have the freedom to fly. I respect that freedom nonetheless.
    I wonder if money is involved in this accusation against Thor. Someone looking for a big payout?

  • Mike

    She is not against guns just the fact that stray rounds are going where there are people living. I all most bought a home near there and am very glad I did not.If I was firing a gun and the bullets were coming at your house would you not complain? You can’t teach safety if you don’t observe it.

  • P

    Interesting you say your niece was shot in the leg? Was she taken to a hospital? I am pretty sure this would of certainly made local news if not national news not to mention once reported would of been a major local, state, and federal investigation… this is all a bunch of BS merely baseless allegations from someone wanting attention possibly for financial gain.

  • txkreddog

    It sounds to me like another potential “hot McDonald’s coffee in my lap” lawsuit by ambulance-chasing lawyers, or a gun-control fanatic. I doubt the truth of this story.

    • sue

      Please check your facts about the coffee case. The thermostat at mcd had previously scalded many had gone to ER and were set higher than any in the industry. That old lady had her genitals melted because the cup gave way due to the excessive temperature which MacDonalds had prior knowledge of, while she was parked attempting to put cream into. She had to have extensive reconstructive surgery. The settlement was modest.

      • txkreddog

        Actually Sue, you and a few others, need to check your facts. 700 coffee spills over 10 years is not a regular occurence, rather more like 700 careless customers. Perhaps in your book $600,000.00 is not a substantial sum of money, but to most of us, it is quite a lot.

      • txkreddog

        As a final note, McDonalds sells 2,739,726 cups of coffee a DAY. Multiply that by 10 years and the 700 complaints seem pretty minor.

    • Natalie Davis

      You should really be a tad bit more knowledgeable about Liebeck vs. McDonald’s be you spout off about it. Why don’t you go look at Mrs. Liebeck’s 3rd degree burns caused by McDonald’s 190 degree coffee. Or how about the 700 reports of previous burns before she was injured.

      • txkreddog

        Get with Sue on a “fact check” Natalie, that ridiculous lawsuit is the reason we need “loser pays” tax reform. Thor presents no danger, except in the minds of slip and fall attorneys and others looking for a quick buck at the expense of others.

      • Susan

        Thank you Ms. Davis. I wonder where they recieved their law degree. I refuse to get caught up in these people hiding behind their computers. My attorney and I discussed this very law suit for about 20 minutes last week. This is my final post. You can’t reason with a drunk, or people who buy into the prop the insurance companies feed us. I’m not even going to read this anymore. These people can’t even be rational.

  • Questions

    90% of the posts related to this story are junk. People making assumptions, that is all they are.

    Now that this story has broken, people with damages will come forward to try to prove their point. If none step forward, then the claims are without merit.

  • Mr. Know it all

    Someone needs to question Mrs. Yeakley regarding her family’s history with guns. I bet you’ll find that THOR is not the one to be concerned about. I do believe that all of the people in this video are family.

    • Sick of know it alls

      The only relative in the video is the young boy in the wheelchair. I don’t know what you’re implying, but you seem extremely confused.

  • James

    Doesn’t Brenda have huge gambling debts over there at the Yeakley “compound”? It would seem to me that she is using Channel 5 news as her lackey so she can extort money out of this gun range. I grew up here and know the folks in the area, and I know Ms. Yeakley is no upstanding citizen.

  • JD

    Just because you show a picture of a bullet dent in a car or a bullet hole in a house, doesn’t mean it came from Thor. Are there police reports for all of these “incidents”? And as for the niece being shot in the leg, I’d need to see that to believe it. And I’d have to see the investigation showing what kind of bullet, direction the bullet came from, time of day, etc. Proof. Otherwise, I’m inclined to think this woman is looking to sue for money.

  • C

    This is not the first incident of the neighbors reporting stray bullets coming from this range. It’s been on the news before. I’m glad to see all of Mr. Knesek’s bully boys come to his defense by attacking anyone speaking against him and their “operation”.

  • Dennis.

    Not really a good point Charles. I’ve been here since the early 60’s before any of the other houses in this area were here. I have had no problem with thor at all.

    • C

      Do you live “down range” or “up range”? I do believe you probably live east which is not where the complaints are coming from.

  • Jennifer H

    I can respect the fact that people that live around the range have concerns but I have been a member for 2 years now and have never had a problem out there or found it to be unsafe. The people that claim to have been hit or had their house hit, Are you sure it came from the range or do you assume it came from the range? If it were an unsafe place I would not be out there. I think the real issue is people are just mad about the noise and I think the range has respected that by making the hours 8-5.

    I also think Max and the rest of the team are great, They are very helpful and a good group of people.

      • Jennifer H

        Max your on here??? Because my name at least according to to my DL my CC permit and my birth certificate is Jennifer and if you want to call BS on that then I invite you to the range this Saturday I will be there at 1 you can find me at the pistol bay. So are ya going to except? I’m guessing not and you will have some stupid comment to respond with and wont show but the offer stands come on out!

  • Sapper

    Anyone that thinks an outdoor shooting range can be 100% contained is kidding themselves. Look up a night fire with tracers on YouTube. If your shot falls short of the catch it will sail into the horizon. Same goes for striking the catch to high.

  • THOR NEEDS TO MOVE

    As close as they are to homes I don’t see how an incident hasn’t happened multiple times!! Accidents happen, that’s why people use safety measures to try to prevent anything horrible happening. BUT at a gun range many things could go wrong just like any where else but multiple guns are being shot 7 days a week from 8-5. Whether the story is correct or not, their location is horrible.

  • Fed up

    Maybe it’s the druggies and losers that live in that area shooting at the houses. I lived in that area and know the type of people that have infested the area. That is the reason I no longer live there. Thor came to the area after i moved so I have no connection to them nor do I know them but I would think if bullets were flying around all the time they would have been shut down by now.

  • xmodusoperandix

    here comes damage control from THOR social media friends. Outside ranges with in a community seem to warrant concerns. Its warranted because a stray bullet can easily travel 1km. Though I doubt a bullet from a rifle or handgun penetrated through siding and drywall of an exterior wall pf a home there is still a chance of some one being struck while outside of a home.

    • T

      Thor global defense is a completely separate company from Knesek guns. Thor isn’t originally from Arkansas.

      And to the person who said an outdoor range can’t be 100% contained; Thor does the best they can. They have sufficient barriers around the entire range.

  • mike

    Knesek guns and Thor are actually the same company. They are operating under a DBA if you don’t know that’s a “doing business as”. They have multiple company’s using that loop hole because their practices are shady. Video and audio really can’t happen during daylight hours. The knesek family is a joke and I’m glad Larry’s lackey Max is posting on this website using different names. If I was as dirty I would be doing the same thing. And for the part of it being national news its because Larry pays off duty police fro alma to act on is behalf and harrass people that are against him. So go ahead Max let’s have your rebuttal under someone else’s name.

    • ....

      Mike, you are correct on all points except one that I feel compelled as a long time family friend to correct. Larry Knesek is a joke, not the Knesek family. You are probably unaware that his mother and grandmother were outstanding teachers in Kibler and very well thought of to this day. The Knesek FAMILY has distanced themselves from Larry and Larry due to THEIR ethics. Their bad business practices have long been a disgrace to all sides of their family.

  • Jerry

    This is a serious problem. There are police documentation, bullets in evidence and some still lodged in houses to back it. It’s happened too many times in the area to just be coincidence. A girl was hit in the leg investigators and police responded and there are hospital reports. It is all documented. Nothing is being done about any of it and the news did not report it.This is not a jab against the second amendment and nobody is trying to get any money. Just a community who feels unsafe. There has been a problem for a few years now. People have a right to be mad when there property is getting damaged and there family is in danger.

    • Jennifer H

      Just wondering how it is reports have been made and someone was shot yet the range never got shut down? No real proof? And if it is so unsafe then why is it its only people outside the range being shot at?? Its so unsafe yet no accidents inside only outside? Seems to me that if any of this were true then someone would have been hurt by now just pulling into the range.

  • Jack

    “In direct response to the increased demand for enhanced security procedures, advanced equipment and training which was created by the events following 2001, THOR Global Defense Group was created by President & CEO Larry R. Knesek.” So much for Thor being a separate entity. Pay closer attention, “T”…

  • power

    Example of these peoples complaints… Several years ago, we were out there.We were the only people using the range that day, and had been for several hours.We were at the pistol range, shooting a .38 revolver, and no one was using the rifle range Police showed up and said the people down the road were complaining that they heard automatic gunfire and bullets were hitting their property. Obviously, they were either making the story up, or someone not at the range was responsible.

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