Oak Lawn Neighborhood Peace Pierced by Barrage of Early Morning Gunfire

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Oak Lawn Heights
A hail of early morning gunfire disrupted and terrified residents on one street in Oak Lawn Heights Sunday (photos courtesy Sharmin Ashtaputre)

Sharmin Ashtaputre’s family has never really felt unsafe in their Oak Lawn Heights neighborhood in the four years they’ve lived there. But early Sunday morning, that sense of safety was shattered as bullets rained down in their daughter’s nursery.

“At 5:30 a.m. today, we were woken up by what sounded like fireworks,” Ashtaputre said. “Well, it was two moving cars shooting at each other, and they picked our street.”

“My husband and I woke up within the first couple of shots and there were over 40.”

Ashtaputre said that her first instinct was to peek in on her daughter, since her room faces the street.

“She seemed not to be bothered so I chose not to go in,” she said, adding that later she found audio where her daughter reacting to the noise.

“I have a clip from the nursery which shows my daughter screaming ‘Too loud! Too loud’ as the bullets flew past her,” she said. “Makes me shudder!”

“We called 911 and saw the whole thing unfold,” Ashtaputre said, adding that it took about 15 minutes for Dallas police to arrive.

“Had they been quicker, the two guys were hiding on our neighbor’s porch for their getaway car,” she added.

It was the officers who responded that first noticed the bullet holes in the Ashtaputres’ house, including the nursery, another bedroom and the front of the house.

Oak Lawn Heights
Bullets tore through the windows and draperies at Sharmin Ashtaputre’s home, including her daughter’s nursery.

“I panicked and went to her room to see one bullet lodged in the wall, and two in her door,” Ashtaputre said. “There are 10-plus shells on the street in front of my driveway.”

A Nest camera caught 10 harrowing minutes of gunfire, plus the shooters running away and then waiting for a getaway car.

As Sunday morning turned into Sunday afternoon, the Ashtaputre’s began cleaning up the damage.

“We just cleaned off all the glass (in the nursery) and got a good look at the bullet holes,” she said. “I almost threw up!”

Ashtaputre said that they’ve never felt unsafe — until Sunday — in their Oak Lawn Heights neighborhood, which she describes as “transitional.”

“It’s no Highland Park, but I have never hesitated walking my dog late at night, or felt like I was not safe,” she said. “We built our house here four years ago and love the neighborhood feel in spite of being smack in the middle of Dallas.”

“I think this is so bizarre, and I can’t even trust my child is safe inside our home.”

CandysDirt.com has reached out to Dallas police for comment on the incident and will update this story as more information is available.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

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  1. mmCandy Evans says

    Just horrific. I almost threw up reading this. My grand daughter’s bedroom in my son’s Cali house is also the front room right by the street and they live on a busy street. I have worried about cars crashing but bullets? Really want to see these perpetrators caught!

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