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WATCH: Man shows us what’s causing the mystery booms

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - It's a mystery that has bothered some people in Chesterfield, Dinwiddie and the Tri-Cities for months. What is causing those very loud booms that sometimes shake homes and rattle nerves?

Over the months, theories arose such as mini-earthquakes, ice booms, someone even suggested a garbage truck flap banging against the back of the truck.

Now it appears the boom mystery has been solved. Watch this video.

Minutes after this video was shot Saturday afternoon, social media lit up with reaction and questions.

"Anybody know what's going on with the BIIIIIGGGGG BOOM in So. Chesterfield?" Wilma Jones-Brown posted on the WTVR CBS 6 Facebook page.

Boom reax 01

"Anyone [know] what the big bombs are around Colonial Heights and Chesterfield County lines," Hazel Halliday posted from Chester. "I heard [one] about an hour ago my house shook and my Windows rattled."

Boom reax 02

CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil has been tracking the source of the boom for weeks. Last week the man who claimed to be behind the booms came forward and provided video.

Justin Watkins, 28, says he is the source of the booms

Justin Watkins, 28, says he is the source of the booms

Justin Watkins, 28, said he is the man in this most recent video taken Saturday about 4:15 p.m. He said the booms are the result of target practice.

Watkins said he is using a high-power rifle to shoot tannerite, an exploding target.

"We do it for fun and target practice not for attention that just comes along with it," Watkins wrote in an online chat with CBS 6 about the booms. "We have caused many, many [booms] and yes, [there are] plenty more are to come."

Watkins said he shoots the targets in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie. He said he is usually positioned 150 - 200 yards from the target during practice.

He said he sometimes shoots one or two pound targets. It's the larger targets (the one in the video is 20 pounds) that cause the big booms.

"Yes people get upset, but they live a different lifestyle. We live to hunt and fish and we love our guns," he said.

CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil is continuing to work this story and determine whether or not what's causing the booms is legal. Click here to email the CBS 6 Newsroom if you've been impacted by the booms.


  • addie

    that man is using a high powered rifle in almost flat land. I have a problem with that because he his lying on the ground and has to have the rifle elevated to fire. there are regulations about using rifles when shooting you must have a thick doom to shoot at or be aiming toward the ground so that you know where the bullet is going so what he is doing is legal but not safe because rifle bullets can travel so far

  • David

    Pyro mentality. Start a fire, watch it burn. But, it’s his own property, expense, and risk, so the booms are just an annoyance, like smoke from a burning, but contained, fire would be.

  • Acecannon

    Great answer. I must also have a pyro mentality because I love to watch and listen to explosions, jet engines firing up, you name it.
    But I’m not going to hurt anyone over it so I would also be just an annoyance.
    No harm – no foul.

  • Davey28car

    They are what I like to call WANNA BE REDNECKS! This is the picture that opponents of guns see in there head! Idiots like this that have NO RESPECT for others around them! I have guns! I live in the country but have yet to shoot them. You know why. I dont need to!!!!

    • jamie

      He has every right to do what he wants with his guns and target shooting nothing wrong with that add some explosive makes it more entertaining he’s no wanna be redneck he is a country boy born and raised I grew up with him I agree with the late nite booms r uncalled for but other than that ppl need to stay and deal he’s not harming no one he is doing everything how it should be safety wise and all so why don’t all yall get off his back and let him enjoy himself with his weapons like he has the right to do as a american citizen he is smart yall ppl r judgmental and ignorant point blank

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