Stray bullet kills grandmother outside her Citrus County home, investigators searching for shooter

HOMOSASSA, Fla. — The day before Thanksgiving, Sandra Ryder was working in her front yard with her husband when they heard a gunshot in the distance, that, seconds later hit Ryder in the head, killing her.

The victim’s husband told detectives “he heard gunshots all morning” an incident report said. John Ryder said around 12:30 p.m. they were outside putting a tarp on a generator when he described what sounded like gunshots getting closer.” John Ryder then said he heard a final shot and watched his wife fall to the ground.

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The report said Sandra Ryder was hit in the head. Arriving deputies tried to perform CPR, but, she was pronounced dead minutes later.

“Prayers are with them,” Peggy Bortell said. 

Bortell and her husband John live across the street.

“I was quite scared, very scared and it’s still unsettling to know that people are shooting these guns,” she said.

The couple said they lived in their Homosassa home on the 6000 block of West Wayward Wind Loop for more than a decade and always worried about stray bullets.

“On average we hear gunshots a couple of times a week,” John Ryder said. “She was a very nice neighbor and grandmother.  It’s just a sad situation.”

Late Wednesday night investigators with the Citrus County Sheriff's Office told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska they are “still investigating this incident as the case is open. At this time we half not made any arrests related to this case. A shooter has not been identified, as we are continuing our investigation and are collecting further evidence.”

People who live in the tight-knit community said they would be calling law enforcement if they hear any gunshots in the future.

Investigators believe the shots came from a large field that runs behind the victim’s home.

The Bortell’s wish people had more respect for guns.

“It’s just gun safety. Preach gun safety,” Peggy Ryder said. “If they are going to shoot that’s great. But, shoot at a firing range not out across a field like this.”

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