UPDATE 3/5/13 @ 9 p.m.
GREENUP, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Kentucky State Police are hoping a recent shooting raises safety awareness for rural residents of Greenup County.
Kenneth Sparks, 29, of 176 Mayor Ridge, was inside his home preparing to leave for church Sunday when he was hit with a single gunshot to the back. Police believe the shooter may have been up to a mile away, perhaps just firing a round for sport.
"People think once it hits a target, that bullet's going to stop," Kentucky State Police Trooper Michael Murriell said. "That's not always the case."
Murriell says gun owners need to be aware of their surroundings and take extra care.
"Scope the property before you're out shooting," Murriell said. "Walk the perimeter, know your obstacles. When you fire a round, you need to be accountable for that round. You need to know where that round ends up."
In May of 2012, a man was shot in nearby Flatwoods outside of a local nursing home. The fear and gunshots had police out in force -- people afraid of the unknown. As it turns out, the shooting was classified as accidental. It was determined that people nearby were having target practice.
"Safety needs to be key," Murriell said. "It only takes one accident."
State Police would still like to close this case. The shooter from Sunday's incident still has not been identified.
Anyone with information about that shooting is urged to call Kentucky State Police at (800) 222-5555.
According to Kentucky State Police, Kenneth W. Sparks, 29, of 176 Mayor Ridge in Greenup County, was inside his home preparing to leave for church when he was hit with a single gunshot in the back.
"There are a lot of prayers going out for him," said Keith Sparks, Kenneth's father. "God was watching over him because he's going to pull through."
The Sparks live in a neighborhood near the Happy Ridge area of Greenup County and are very familiar with the sound of gunshots. There are often people out shooting target practice.
"As soon as I heard it, I knew what it was," Kenneth Sparks said. "Our home had been shot at before. It felt like someone had punched me in the back, and I told my wife, 'Call 911, I've been shot.' "
Sparks, who's in Cabell Huntington Hospital, says the bullet narrowly missed his neck and spine.
"The single shot came in near the roof line," Kentucky State Police Trooper First Class Michael Murriell said. "He's very fortunate; someone was watching over him.
According to Kentucky State Police, as of Monday evening, the shooter has not been identified and the investigation remains ongoing by Detective Ben Cramer.
Anyone with any information about the shooting is asked to call Kentucky State Police at (800) 222-5555.
The shooting happened in the 100 block of Mayor Ridge Road in Greenup County, Ky. about 5:30 p.m. .
Troopers say Kenneth Sparks, 29, was initially taken to an Ashland hospital, and then transferred to a hospital in Huntington where he was listed in stable condition.
State Police say the bullet that hit Sparks came through the back wall. They say it appears the gunshot came from the Happy Ridge Area
At this time the shooter has not been identified.
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